Robert Smith-Shabazz

Posted: August 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: The Latest | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

Robert Smith Shabazz – During our visit with Raíces Culturales Latinoamericanas, Melissa Yarborough, the Program Manager told us about Robert Smith-Shabazz’s Wood & Music Lab down the street. We made a stop on our way to the next site. Robert is a jazz musician and artist. He makes painted wood-carvings of photographs and magazine clips. He showed us around his studio and performed a few pieces with Melissa from Raíces. We even joined in on the jam session! Here he is with his carving of the Obamas.

www.woodandmusiclab.com/music.html

Photo Credit: Steve Magnotta, Intrigue Photography


Hairell’s hair conquered by Julius Scissor

Posted: August 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: The Latest | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

Hairell Fletcher cuts his own hair. makes sense, Hairell seems like a DIY kind of guy. he says he looks in the mirror, uses scissors. rather brave, if you ask me. for the last visit of Hairell’s stay in Philadelphia, we took him to see Julius Scissor. Julius is a hair stylist/sculptor/inventor/poet with a storefront downtown on Locust. he cut Hairell’s hair, told us stories about fist-fighting with priests as a kid, and toured us around his hair studio to the delight of all. I think he may have even converted Hairell to barber-ism… Read the rest of this entry »


open call report

Posted: August 3rd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: The Latest | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off

on Thursday we held two open call events, one at Haverford College in the morning and another at the Friends Center in Philadelphia later in the afternoon. I was nervous again about the potential for a poor turnout, but my worries were soon assuaged as the drawings, paintings, sculptures, etc. came pouring in. we set up tables around each space, instructed artists to display their work and talk about it for 5-10 minutes. we moved as a unit about the tables with Harrell, Renaud, and Matthew in the lead (in the picture they are the three guys closest to the table). here we are enjoying a video made by local artist Maiza Hixon at the Friends Center. Read the rest of this entry »


community centers in north phila

Posted: July 28th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: The Latest | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

wednesday morning I met James in Center City around 10. from there we drove deep into North Philadelphia. we were visiting three different community/cultural centers – Raices Culturales Latinoamericanas, Taller Puertorriqueno. and Ayuda Community Center. upon pulling up to Raices, our first stop, we were greeted by this man. he was giving a guitar lesson outside of the office. Raices offers a number of similar programs – dance lessons, cooking tutorials, and Tertulias, which comprise lectures and discussions on cultural topics and an open mic portion for poetry and music – to members of the community. Read the rest of this entry »


people’s computer

Posted: May 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: The Latest | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment »

so it’s alumni weekend at Haverford College. I’m sitting behind the desk at the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery where there is a small reception. portobello puffs, grapes, crackers, etc. and beer too, but it doesn’t look like anyone is drinking. reunion years go in 5s at Haverford. that means there are alums from 2005, 2000, 1995… climbing back into the first half of last century. a man (class of 1980-85, judging by looks) enters the gallery. he is in a rush, visibly stressed. he turns to me, pointing to the far end of the space, and asks, “is there a computer in here I can use?” I politely reply, “no, sorry sir.” It’s only after he turns and scuttles out the door that I realize how bizarre his question had seemed. a public computer? in the gallery? why did he expect to find a computer in the gallery?

the interaction made me think: what do we expect to find in a gallery? what belongs in an “art space”? why was the query about the computer so out of place? over the course of the coming months, the Cantor Fitzgerald, in conjunction with Independent Curators International, will explore precisely these questions through a new experiment in exhibit-making, People’s Biennial. guest curators Harrell Fletcher and Jens Hoffman will travel to five art venues across the country to select work from under-represented artists of the surrounding community. insofar as Harrell and Jens choose artists who might consider themselves outside of the “art world,” they delineate what one might find inside that world, all the while questioning the legitimacy and efficacy of its traditions and practices. what does the art world gain by being exclusive? what does the gallery gain by housing art and not computers? are they mutually exclusive?


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