Michael Patterson-Carver

Posted: February 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: The Latest | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

David has left you, Rachel has left you, and you are left with me, Aubree Penney, Haverford sophomore, soon to be Religion and English double major, and art enthusiast, here to keep you updated about the People’s Biennial!

Portland native Michael Patterson-Carver marries political activism with his art. Harrell Fletcher, one of the curators of the People’s Biennial, discovered Patterson-Carver selling his artwork outside of a Trader Joe’s in Portland.

It’s a Cinderella story of sorts, with Patterson-Carver going from living in a tent to having his artwork shown in New York and London galleries. For more on Patterson-Carver’s story, check out “An artist, discovered” by Su-jin Yim from the August 16, 2007 issue of  the Oregonian.

As the call went out for submissions to the People’s Biennial, Patterson-Carver’s work was featured as being representative of the kind of work co-curators Harrell Fletcher and Jens Hoffman might select for the People’s Biennial. The piece used was his Waiting for Obama.

Michael Patterson-Carver's Waiting for Obama, 2008.

Featuring people of different races and genders, Patterson-Carver emphasizes the shared experience of awaiting Obama through the similarity of each person’s stance and their dress, which only varies slightly between pants, skirts, and shirts with or without zippers. It has a decidedly global perspective rather than patriotic perspective, suggesting a pressing universal need for Obama’s presidency as “the world is waiting.” Patterson-Carver’s figures identify a distinctive “other” which must be prosecuted, namely the “Bushies” and the “fascists.”

His work is also included in Sex Drive, the current show here at the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. Curated by Stuart Horodner, Sex Drive features Patterson-Carver’s “Same Sex Marriage 2” on the front wall, making it a part of viewer’s initial and concluding experiences of sex as they go through the show.

Michael Patterson-Carver's Same-Sex Marriage 2, 2007.

One of the few pieces of the show that directly confronts the political sphere’s relation to sex, Patterson-Carver’s piece aligns the “pursuit of happiness” with marriage, depicting numerous happy people in couples, based on the figures’ body language. Less graphic than many of the images of Sex Drive, Same-Sex Marriage 2 provides an opportunity to consider sex intellectually and politically, rather than evoking a more visceral reaction.

In his work Patterson-Carver continually confronts us with our own textual fascination, that at times even image falls short of the power of words as we find ourselves drawn to the text on the signs. He also calls into question the idea of presence-in both Waiting for Obama and Same-Sex Marriage 2 there seem to be an excess of signs, but no more people beyond the second row of figures. The protest extends beyond the group gathered; it is representative of a larger unseen body which too demands those rights though these people themselves are unseen.

Personally, what I find most fascinating about Patterson-Carver’s work is his insistence that his figures smile. Su-jin Yim quoted Patterson-Carver in the August 16, 2007 issue of the Oregonian saying, “The protesters smile…because they know they will succeed.” It is a joyful protest, a celebration of an impending certain victory, no matter if it might occur in the next year, as with Waiting for Obama, or in years to come, as with Same-Sex Marriage 2.


Decisions are in!! Looking forward to the PEOPLE’S BIENNIAL!

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

So it’s been a few weeks since Harrell left. He has been working tirelessly with co-curator Jens Hoffman and the members of Independent Curators International to process the immense amount of work they viewed in the Haverford area. The selections were difficult – certainly a lot of work we loved will not be in this show – the curators had to consider how the work from Philadelphia would hang with the art selected from the four other cities. But the votes are in. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the People’s Biennial!

Photo credit: Steve Magnotta, Intrigue Photography


come to the OPEN CALL!!

Posted: June 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: The Latest | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Harrell is going to be looking at submissions in exactly ONE WEEK FROM TODAY! Hard to believe! Make sure you come out to one of the open call events on Thursday, July 1. There is one at Haverford College and one at the Friends Center in Philadelphia on 15th and Cherry.

BRING YOUR WORK!! WE WANT TO SEE IT!!

Invite your friends! Here, use these… Read the rest of this entry »


do you remember me? you should email me sometime.

Posted: June 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: The Latest | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off

I found this bike in the apartment I moved into early summer. some dude who lived here before me left it. I bought it for cheap. it has changed the way I get around, changed my travel options in Philadelphia (SEPTA, you were not cutting it). my bike has been especially convenient during the past few weekends when I’ve been exploring parts of the city I was not familiar with, putting up posters and, most importantly, meeting all of you. do you remember me? 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?


© Copyright 2014 | People’s Biennial All Rights Reserved