Thursday, January 26, 2012

Artist Talk: Hassan Sharif 1/25

Amazing artist conversation last night at Alexander Gray Associates in New York with Hassan Sharif, Paulina Kolczynska and Reem Fadda. Interesting mix of perspectives on Sharif's work and nice and very humble explanations by the artist himself.
A friend of the gallery invited us to his home for a reception following the event.  He had some incredible original performance piece photographs.

Hassan with Philadelphia based artists AJ Bredensteiner and Lauren McCarty

Vito Acconci - Seedbed

Artist Joe Girandola

Artist Mohammed Kazem with Guggenheim curator Reem Fadda

Parallel Stress by Dennis Oppenheim

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Philly Sticker Book

During my first Fall semester as an MFA candidate at UArts I had the privilege of working with Hiro Sakaguchi as my studio mentor.  The program I'm in is quite unique, in that I am working independently each Fall & Spring terms - free to dive into my art practice and research with the guidance of a writing and artist mentor of my choice.

My professor and friend Joe Girandola suggested I work with Hiro, a Philadelphia artist originally from Japan.  I really enjoyed getting to know him and bouncing ideas off of him.  He was supportive and encouraging and helped me make decisions about my art.  You can see more about Hiro's work here:

I spent my time in October and November photographing the street objects I noticed on my walks around Philadelphia.  Realizing many of the objects permanently installed on the sidewalks no longer serve a function, I questioned if they really belonged in the urban landscape.  Things like pay phones, empty newspaper stands, meters that are no longer in service.   I thought it would be interesting to find a way to give people the opportunity to choose where these objects belong.

My solution was to make representational stickers and a sticker book - to encourage others to ask these questions.

Here are some photos of one of the books I made.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Goodbye Corolla

I sold my car today. Bought it with encouragement from my Mother when I was commuting to Shippensburg for classes in 2002. In Pennsylvania the law requires all private party car sales be authorized by a Notary Public. It's an old fashioned law that seems to keep these small places in business for years that sometimes you can't believe exist.
The notary was a very sweet woman who seemed happy for the company.
I'll miss that car. Driving all over God's green earth with my cat in the car is how Gypsy got her name. I pawned the car off on my grandmother for a few years, gave it to a friend for the summer of 2010, and finally set her free today.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Scratch Offs

In 2011 I moved to center city Philadelphia for the first time in my life.  Never having spent time here before, I found myself noticing every little detail about this city.  The behavior of people as they passed me on the sidewalk.  The variety of things which can be found on the ground on any given day.  The things that are tossed on the street and treated as garbage, and things that are carefully packed neatly in a box and set out as ‘free’ items.  It is a diverse city but it is not progressive.  The young people who live here and push on the barriers of the status quo are not welcomed with open arms.  Bikes are stolen regularly, cars broken into.  Garbage thrown around on the ground by people of all ages.  Philadelphia residents would sooner throw a glass bottle down in the street than recycle it. 
It appears that the low-income residents of Philadelphia, specifically South Philadelphia, want things to stay as they are.  Slightly junky, gritty, urban, tough.  They don’t want to improve.  They don’t want others trying to make things better. 
But what confuses me is that if this is true, in a culture of trash and status quo, why do I find so many scratch off lotto tickets strewn around the streets?  Anyone who spends 1,2,5,10, or 20 dollars on a single lottery ticket must as some level have hope for a grand fortune, a better life, extravagance, wealth, power, beautiful surroundings. 
I began to notice the scratch offs right away as I walked to and from the university each day.  They are brightly colored in a glossy finish with only a bit of gray showing from where the customer scratched away just enough of the card to see they were not going to become millionaires today.  The cards stay bright and fairly strong after rain or being driven over or even sometimes being ripped into small pieces by the frustrated loser.
These scratch offs create a line of poverty and of hope, woven through Philadelphia.  It is hard to see but if you look, there is evidence in the litter of the scratch off that the people here may want change, they may want things to improve even if they aren’t willing to admit it. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


so far. 

They seem to look like more in person. 

Anyway, Philly must have stronger gravity because everything ends up on the ground.  Whatever it is, generally speaking its too heavy or too much of a burden for anyone to carry anything to a trash can.  Or maybe there is a lack of pockets in the pants and jackets of residents of Philadelphia.  Being here and walking everywhere allows me to analyze the behavior of the people simply by the things they leave behind.  Rubber bands, scratch off lotto tickets, broken headphones, expired bus passes, shadows from discarded chewing gum.

The rubber bands became apparent to me when a friend of mine pointed them out one evening walking around Old City.  I began to notice them everywhere, as he said would happen.  Immediately the bands became something I had to solve and realized the postman was dropping them at almost every mailbox. Once you start to notice the rubber bands it is hard to stop seeing them.  I have friends scooping up discarded rubber bands for me and contributing to the growing pile.

Objects in the street, both the things we use and don't use, serve a purpose.  If we use them or have ever use them, they have the ability to trigger a memory or offer a sense of nostalgia.  The familiarity of things in our day to day can give us a feeling of belonging and place. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


The Postman drops them, I pick them up.  

Everyday the postman brings the mail separated into bundles, secured by a rubber band.  The letters, magazines and cards are distributed, and the bands are dropped somewhere along the way.   

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A History of the World in 100 Objects

Gift from my lovely Stepmother: A History of the World in 100 Objects.  A History of the World was a 2010 partnership between the BBC and the British Museum, involving schools, museums and audiences across the UK, which was recently published as a book.   

Thinking about objects and how they affect our daily lives and choices has become the main direction of my research.  I'll report on interesting ideas as I get further along.

More info about the book can be found here.  

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hassan Sharif

Alexander Gray has a gallery on 26th street in Chelsea and happened to be in Abu Dhabi a few years ago and met artists Hassan Sharif and Mohammed Kazem. They invited him to see Sharif's work and together they decided to make a solo show for him at the gallery in NY. Yesterday I stopped by the show which opened on Thursday to see the works with Mohammed.

Pretty great to see these works in person, I recommend taking time to stop by. Info about the show can be viewed at

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Inevitable Fate of the Payphone

Around 3pm on Thursday, January 5th.  Walked to Philly's Chinatown to eat hand pulled noodles for lunch with Mohammed, and walking back to uArts I stumbled upon this horrifying monstrosity.  More evidence for the 'payphones are obsolete' project. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Hauling Ropes: Orly Genger

A day in the life of schlepping stuff...

Today we assisted Ed Waisnis and Sid Sachs, the Exhibitions coordinator and curator, with receiving crocheted ropes, which will be installed by the artist tomorrow in the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery on Broad Street.  Look at all those ropes!  And that was when we were already half-way done....

Her work will be on display at uArts starting Jan 17.  More info can be found here:
Orly Genger: Jan 17—Feb 29 2012 Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery

New Year, New Blog, Same Girl.

Its 2012!  The new year started a few days late... I promised myself I would begin a daily blog on the first of January as a method of recording my process and research throughout the year ahead as I dive into my first full year as an MFA candidate.  

Anyway, here it is!  

You're welcome world :)