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[BKARTS] Philagrafika presents: MEGAWORDS ZINE at Landmarks Contemporary Projects
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Philagrafika, in partnership with the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks presents: Megawords. With works by artists Dan Murphy and Anthony Smyrski, Megawords is the first exhibition in the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks' new Landmarks Contemporary Projects program. For this exhibition, Murphy and Smyrski will create a site-specific installation at the museum, the first exhibition of contemporary art in this unique and important historic space since the 1770?s. The project is curated by Robert Wuilfe, founder of Landmarks Contemporary Projects.
Megawords is an ongoing, collaborative artistic investigation by Murphy and Smyrski. Through their artwork, they address issues of community and document people surviving in cities all over the world. Prior to this exhibition, the primary medium of this exploration has been the freely-distributed and critically acclaimed print publication Megawords. According to Murphy and Smyrski, Megawords strives to be a "free" magazine in the broadest sense of the word. Free of advertising for starters, but also free of any editorial format, legal owner or commercial purpose. What's left is a collection of interesting images, stories, people and documentary findings. They believe this material is powerful enough to speak for itself, which is why they present it with as little editorial framing as possible. Through conscious juxtaposition of images and text, Smyrski and Murphy invite the reader to draw their own conclusions. In their work, they attempt to spark thought and
dialogue, and inspire a curiosity about the world outside one?s immediate life, a curiosity that potentially will lead to understanding.
In their installation at Powel House, Murphy and Smyrski will take advantage of the visual grandeur of the 18th century structure as a stark contrast to the modern urban imagery of their Megawords project. Building upon their innovative use of commercial printing techniques, the Powel House will become a distribution site for Megawords magazine, hearkening back to the 18th century tradition of populist publications such as Thomas Paine?s Common Sense, which was printed just down the street from the museum. Additionally, by projecting photographs and video within the house, audiences will enter an immersive environment in which a reconstructed version of the past meets the reality of the present.
In addition to the exhibition, Smyrski and Murphy will participate in a free public panel discussion on Wednesday, September 6th at 6pm at the Powel House Museum. The discussion will also include: Alex Baker, Ph.D., Curator of Contemporary Art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts; Historian and author George W. Boudreau, Ph.D.; Shelley Langdale, Associate Curator of Prints and Drawings, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Artist and author Steven Powers, aka Espo; Photographer and Whitney Biennial participant Zoe Strauss. Through the panel discussion, we will examine the way the medium of print is ideally suited to communicate issues of history, social class and the urban environment to contemporary audiences. The typical visitor to the Powel House may have a strong interest in history, politics or architecture, but is often less conversant in art history and contemporary art. They may be intimidated by the perception of exclusivity of the art world. This is unfortunate
and ironic, because as panelist Boudreau has written, ?Powel House has been a center of Philadelphia's arts community since the 1770?s.? By taking contemporary art out of the ?white cube? of a typical gallery or museum, Philagrafika willprovide a surprising, accessible context for an audience experience. By using printmaking to link Philadelphia?s modern urban life and its historic past, the project will demonstrate the power of art to provide a new way of seeing the world.
Philagrafika's mission is to promote and sustain printmaking as a vital and valued art form by providing artistic, programmatic and administrative leadership for large-scale, cooperative initiatives with broad public exposure.
Philagrafika builds upon the Philadelphia region's rich history and abundant artistic resources to increase critical dialogue, provide benefits for the local arts community, and enhance the city's presence as an international center for printmaking. We do this through an international contemporary art festival, an annual invitational portfolio, and special projects. Our programs have been designed to present new curatorial and critical models for printmaking-models in which the medium is presented as an integral component of current artistic practice.
For more information, please contact Rebecca Mott at rmott@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks
For seventy-five years, the Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks has played a significant role in the historic preservation movement in Philadelphia by restoring, furnishing and presenting to the public its four distinguished house museums: Grumblethorpe, Physick House, Powel House and Waynesborough. While remaining committed to preserving and interpreting the past, Landmarks is moving into the future with a renewed mission to expand beyond business-as-usual, explore new conceptual territories, create new collaborations and make its houses relevant to today?s audiences. To that end, we are pleased to announce a new program called Landmarks Contemporary Projects.
Through exhibitions, screenings, lectures, performances educational programs and other strategies, Landmarks Contemporary Projects will provide a unique and thoughtful alternative for audiences, creative opportunities for artists and new partnerships with other organizations. The core of the program will be an exhibition/residency program in which we will invite artists to explore and react to Landmarks? four properties and collections and create site-specific installations at the houses. By providing an experimental atmosphere in which artists are free to create new work and question basic assumptions of historical preservation, we hope to stimulate discourse and challenge accepted approaches to both house-museums and contemporary art.
Additional artists? projects, film screenings, performances and lectures will be announced over the coming months. For more information please contact Robert Wuilfe, Curator at rwuilfe@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, 215-627-0364, or Frank Vagnone, Executive Director at fvagnone@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, 215-925-2251.
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