ARTSY: First Friday Picks

[Yue Minjun, Woodcut 1 from The Grassland Series, 2008. Woodcut on paper.] CAROLINE SCHMIDT February 4th marks the birthday of Alice Cooper (1948), Rosa Parks (1913), and Fernand Léger (1881). It is also the day Neal Cassady died (1968), along with head of Soviet NKVD Nikolai Yezhov (1940). It is also first Friday in Philadelphia (2011). Here is a list of top five gallery picks, selected by yours truly, in no particular order.

Post-Mao Dreaming: Chinese Contemporary Art (pictured above), the current exhibition at The University of Pennsylvania’s Arthur Ross Gallery is well worth the trip to the wild world of West Philadelphia academia. The show features prints, drawings, photographs and paintings of 22 noted Chinese artists, most who were working in the revelatory post-Mao period of the 1980s.  Check out the contemporary works of the Luo Brothers, which brilliantly appropriate imagery Chinese Propaganda posters—an affable looking Mao, roses and chubby, smiling babies—and juxtapose it with symbols of Western consumerism—hamburgers and cans of Coca-Cola—in kaleidoscopic embrace. The show is up January 22-April 3. This coming Friday, February 4, there is a Lunar New Year Celebration from 5-7, which includes free admission to the gallery. The Arthur Ross Gallery is located at 220 S. 34th street.

Opening this Friday at Vox Populi is a five-part show including the works: Hell and High Water by Mike Calway-Fagan, Naked Thing by Slinko, TRIFECTA by Alyssa Taylor Wendt, Punch the Sky by Letha Wilson and Empire (ABS-CBN) by Michelle Dizon [curated by Jesse Aron Green]. Expect an exhibition of varied mediums, including sculptures and found material installations (somewhere, it is promised, there will be a taxidermy German Shepherd), video, print and photography. Vox Populi is located at 319 N 11th street, third floor

NEOTENY /// THE HARD SELL [pictured above, right], a solo exhibition of new work by Philadelphia based artist Jayson Scott Musson is at Marginal Utility this month. Maybe you’ll laugh. Maybe you’ll cry. We can’t really be sure. Opening reception from 6-11. Marginal Utility is located at 319 North 11th street (same building as Vox Populi), 2nd floor

New American Voices II, the upcoming exhibition at the Fabric Workshop Museum, is having an opening reception this Friday from 6-8. It includes recent work of Robert Pruitt, Jiha Moon [pictured, below left], Jim Drain, and Bill Smith—all made in collaboration with the Fabric Workshop. The exhibition is located at The New Contemporary at The Fabric Workshop, 1222 Arch.

The Island Beautiful/ Mortal Mirror, a solo-show of Philadelphia-based artist Alex Da Corte at Extra Extra gallery doesn’t actually open until Saturday, February 5—but you weren’t really going to get to see it all in one night, anyway. In The Island Beautiful/ Mortal Mirror, Da Corte absorbs the work of thirteen other artists into his own work, and, to quote Extra Extra’s write up: “In the way one may appear in another’s dream, the artists appear as extensions of themselves; the original structure and meaning co-opted by Da Corte and reinterpreted in a dissociated imagination […] to expose our use of language and identity as problematic.” The show is up until March 19, opening reception Saturday February 5 from 6-10 PM. Extra Extra is located at 1524 Frankford Ave.

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