It’s been a wild ride, and it is hard to believe, but People’s Biennial has only FOUR MORE DAYS at the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery here at Haverford College! Please be sure to stop by for one last look before the show closes this Friday, March 2nd! Also, be sure to visit the installations at Magill Library and the Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center as they will be closing along with the show. The gallery will be open Tuesday – Friday, 11am-5pm, with additional hours Wednesday night from 5-8.
“Messages in Motion believes that media can be independent, community-driven and representative of diverse voices, perspectives and styles that reflect our uniqueness as individuals and speak to our needs as communities. MIM activates relationships by networking people and promoting self-expression as a step toward social change.”
I was born in the suburbs of Philadelphia, went through 12 years of schooling in the area, and ended up going to college only about 20 minutes away from the city. I thought I knew Philadelphia pretty well. But El Sol Sale Para Todo, Laura Deutch’s collaborative films with her two colleagues Leticia Roa Nixon and Carlos Pascual, introduced a part of Philadelphia that I have never seen or was aware of during the 16 years that I’ve lived here.
El Sol Sale Para Todo was screened at Haverford College about two weeks ago. It is the exact embodiment of MIM’s mission statement, to represent the voices of a community that is often overlooked. The film reveals the many stories of Hispanic immigrants living in Philadelphia. The stories about hardship, linguistic differences, different travels before settling in Philadelphia, memories about Mexico, and dreams of a better life away from hard labor.
I was captured by this documentary. Having decided to teach at an inner-city school in Philadelphia, I thank Laura for giving me a glimpse of the personal realities of families in the city. The film has served its purpose in helping me, as a viewer, gain a better understanding of a community that is marginalized and overlooked.
We’re all busy bees around here, trying to make sure everything is all set for the People’s Conference.
Bottles of water for speakers? Check. Cookies for the tea on Friday which will precede the conference? Check. AV request in for Sharpless Auditorium? Check. Heaps of excitement to see Harrell Fletcher, co-creator of one of my favorite relational aesthetics projects, Learning to Love You More? Check!
Vast quantities of anticipation to hear from Jens Hoffmann, curator of the 12th International Istanbul Biennial? Check!
As you can see, Harrell and Jens, the co-curators, both do fascinating and very different things when it comes to art. I can’t wait to hear how their differing experiences in the “art world” impacted their curatorial decisions as they shaped The People’s Biennial, a show designed to consider art by artists operating outside conventional frameworks of fine arts.
Yep, seems like we’re in pretty good shape for the Biennial. Now all we need is you!
Need directions? For Friday’s 4:30 portion, we’re at Haverford, located at 370 Lancaster Avenue, Haverford, Pennsylvania, you’ll want to head to the Marian E. Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center. Here’s the Haverford campus map. To get to ICA for the Saturday portion beginning at 11, check out these handy directions.
THIS IS YOUR CONFERENCE
4:30-6:30 FEBRUARY 24 @ HAVERFORD COLLEGE
11-5 FEBRUARY 25 @ INSTITUTE OF CONTEMPORARY ART, UPENN Read the rest of this entry »
Tonight People’s artist Howard Kleger will be speaking at Haverford in Stokes 102 with Brandon Joyce. The evening will include a screening of selections from Kleger’s film Howard2Go and a conversation between Kleger and Joyce. This promises to be one of the most unique evenings of the People’s Biennial. The event will begin at 4:30pm in Stokes 102.
Last fall, I had written a brief entry about one of our artists, Jorge Figueroa. All I did was write a few amateur thoughts on how I felt about his work–things that I appreciated, little details I noticed at the time. I wrote it and didn’t think much about it after I clicked “publish.” After finishing my semester, I packed my bags and was off to London. To be honest, I didn’t think much about People’s Biennial while I was there (c’mon…I was in London!), until Matthew sent me an intriguing email asking for my mailing address in England. He wrote to me that a visitor had stopped by at the gallery to drop off a gift for me. To my disappointment, Matthew would not reveal the identity of the visitor. I sent him my address so he could send the mysterious gift my way. And then I forgot about that email.
One day, I received a large package in the mail. I opened the box and found it filled with foam pieces. I dug around and finally got a hold of something rectangular, carefully wrapped in bubble wrap (which I proceeded to pop immediately). I peeled off the bubble wrap, curious about what could possibly be under all the careful packaging. My fingers got a hold of a thin black frame. As I slowly pulled the entire frame out, I think my body knew what it was before my mind fully realized it. I say this because I actually started tearing up before I even took off the last bit of bubble wrap to see what it really was. It was a print of my favorite photograph from Jorge’s collection!
Later, Matthew told me that Jorge had stopped by–just out of the blue one day–to drop off the print for me and comment on the blog entry I had written a few months earlier. I was completely flattered and humbled by Jorge’s thoughtfulness, not just because he took the time to make a print for me, but also because he knew exactly which print I would want.
Since that day, I eagerly looked forward to meeting Jorge, and I finally did at our opening! He was exactly as I imagined he would be–gentle, friendly, and warm-hearted. Having finally met the man behind the camera, I am left with more thoughts about his work. The moments captured in his photography feel like small, thoughtful gifts for his subjects and his viewers. What I learned about Jorge was that he takes great care and humility in all that he does; Jorge took great care in thinking about what print I would love, and selflessly took the time to drop the print off for me. His photographs clearly reflect this same care and selflessness. He does everything he possibly can to capture the fullness of the moment, space, and time. They are truly gifts for any viewer.
Come join us for the screening of People’s Biennial artist, Howard Kleger’s self-documentary!
The People’s Biennial has officially opened at Haverford College! At the opening on Friday evening, we saw hundreds of art-lovers visit the show.
This was one of the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery’s more playful openings, with food from each region represented in biennial and Rudy Speerchneider serving up homemade ice cream. Of course, the ice cream ran out, but visitors had a chance to try unique flavors like cheesesteak ice cream and Amish berry pie ice cream.
Biennial artist Maiza Hixson used the opening to start on a new project by interviewing guests about the show.
After months of reading about the People’s Biennial and looking at photos in the catalog, Friday was my first chance to finally see the show in the flesh. It is great to see just how much talent is out there on the edges of the contemporary art world. All too often, the art world feels New York-centric, but Reno and the rest of the cities represented in the Biennial have got some serious talent too!
Here are some photos from opening night:
I feel like a kid at the Fourth of July. Not just any kid. I feel like the kid who’s been waiting since July 5th for the return of the glorious fireworks and the blaring of marches by John Phillips Sousa. There are days when it felt like the Biennial would never get here. I had hit this point where I’d tried to avoid thinking about the Biennial, because every time I thought about it, I started counting the months until it would arrive in Pennsylvania. Like any overexcited person, this made the passage of time all the more tedious.
But, after months of waiting, I am thrilled out of my mind to say that at last the People’s Biennial has reached Haverford! And what a wild ride it’s going to be (I’m trying to maximize my use of clichés here)!
The Event Schedule
Opening Reception on Friday, January 27, 2012, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. at the CFG. Maiza Hixson will be conducting interviews and Portland-area artist Rudy Speerchneider will serve ice cream from his piece Junior Ambassador’s Food Cart: A Mostlandian Venture.
Get the inside scoop from the Haverford-area artists at the Artists Conversation on Thursday, February 9, 2012, 4:30 p.m. at the CFG led by People’s Biennial Project Liaison, David Richardson (with whom any reader of this blog will be familiar!) and Campus Exhibitions Coordinator, Matthew Callinan.
After the artists conversation, stick around Haverford for a Screening and Conversation with Artist Laura Deutch at 7:00 p.m. at Haverford College, Sharpless Auditorium, KINSC. Laura will be screening her film El Sol Sale which chronicles the rapid growth of the Mexican community in the historically immigrant neighborhood of South Philadelphia. Told through the first hand experiences of the main subjects who have been a formative part of this development over the last 20 years, a collective story of the community unfolds. However with growth and assimilation, come problems, resistance and efforts to organize. El Sol Sale presents stories from the subjects’ memories, reflections and perspectives about the complexity of searching for a better life in a country that is not one’s own. (US, 2010, 52 minutes)
For more film goodness, check out the Screening and Conversation with Artist Howard Kleger and Brandon Joyce on Monday, February 13, 2012, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. at the Humanities Center, Stokes Hall 102. Artist Howard Kleger will screen and discuss his film Howard2Go featured in the People’s Biennialexhibition. This program will be led by Brandon Joyce.
And, to complete your People’s Biennial experience, be sure not to miss the 2 part People’s Conference with the curators of the exhibition Harrell Fletcher and Jens Hoffmann. The first part will be Friday, February 24, 2012, 4:30 p.m. at Haverford College, Sharpless Auditorium, KINSC and will be led by Renaud Proch, Deputy Director of Independent Curators International. On Saturday, February 25 the conference will be at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
I’m going to be able to tell Alan Massey in person how incredible I find his tiny but power-packed pieces, shake Jorge Figueroa’s hand and congratulate him on his show at the People’s Gallery, see Maiza Hixson in action and Laura Deutch and Howard Kleger discussing their work.
Names that have been ringing in our staff’s heads for months will now be proudly on display on our walls. From Cymantha Diaz Liakos to Howard Kleger, to Andrew Sgarlat to Robert Smith-Shabazz, from soap carvings to pinatas, it’s going to be an incredible few months. Be sure to join us for some (if not all) of these events, or at the very least, pop by and take in the show!