Photo by CRAIG MCDEAN via Interview EDITOR’S NOTE: A shortened version of this interview first appeared on VICE’s NOISEY website on February 3, 2016 BY JONATHAN VALANIA In 1982, VU architect John Cale recorded Music For A New Society, an album of wrenching, emotionally-shattered torch songs that prophesied a denatured dystopia, somewhere between Blade Runner and Metropolis, looming ominously on the horizon, full of vintage violence and hysterical laughter, homicidal mothers and greedy angels with broken wings exfoliating the crawling skin of God. Thirty-four years later, we may not quite be there yet, but you can see it from here. […]

A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS: Q&A With Author, Essayist & New Yorker Staff Writer Adam Gopnik

EDITOR’S NOTE: This interview originally posted on November 17th 2011, upon the publication of Adam Gopnik’s book The Table Comes First: Family, France & The Meaning Of Food. BY JONATHAN VALANIA Longtime New Yorker staff writer, author, essayist, children’s novelist and Philly homeboy Adam Gopnik will be delivering the keynote lecture of  the Philadelphia  Museum Of Art’s Object Lessons: New Thinking about Still Life symposium at 6:30 pm tonight — his talk is called Things that Mean Things: Objects and Inventory in American Art. Back in 2011, we got Gopnik on the horn and we discussed writing, food, crime and punishment, […]

ARTSY: Jean-Michael Basquiat, The Radiant Child

  Jean-Michel Basquiat (December 22, 1960 – August 12, 1988) “Basquiat’s canon revolves around single heroic figures: athletes, prophets, warriors, cops, musicians, kings and the artist himself. In these images the head is often a central focus, topped by crowns, hats, and halos. In this way the intellect is emphasized, lifted up to notice, privileged over the body and the physicality of these figures (i.e. black men) commonly represent in the world.” —Kellie Jones, Lost in Translation: Jean-Michel in the (Re)Mix[27] WIKIPEDIA: Fred Hoffman hypothesizes that underlying Basquiat’s sense of himself as an artist was his “innate capacity to function […]

ARTSY: The Greatest ‘Pope Francis In Philly’ Commemorative Memorabilia Story Ever Told

Artwork by FRED LAMMERS EDITOR’S NOTE: Todd Kimmel’s legend looms large in the annals of proto-bohemian Philadelphia. He was cool before it was even possible. TODD KIMMEL: We’ve created a series of large format prints featuring Pope Francis in general, and his visit to Philly in particular.  I dreamed up this project, and now these prints are selling like crazy to Catholic and utterly non Catholic people alike. I like the guy, and what he represents to all the entrenched, doomed naysayers who are now being dragged into the light as just that.  Francis throws down this love bomb thing, […]

ARTSY: Happy Nightmare, Baby

  THE GUARDIAN: One little girl has pigtails and a Hannibal Lecter mask, another wears a bacon blindfold, while a boy has a moustache made of maggots. In Shi Mohan’s illustrated worlds, everything – even childhood – is bizarre and sinister. MORE BEAUTIFUL DECAY: There is an unnerving quality to Shi Mohan‘s paintings, as though they are capturing daydreams, complete with all the surrealness and subconscious metaphors that come with the territory. According to Art Seasons, a gallery in Singapore and Beijing that has previously shown her work, “Shi Mohan jocularly calls herself a life Illustrator. Pleasantly and sensitively, she […]

REWIND 2014: The Year In Questions And Answers

If armies run on their stomachs, blogs run on their big fucking mouths. We’re no exception. But we’d like to think that, on a good day, we put all that hot air to good use when interrogating visiting dignitaries in advance of their triumphant arrival into the City Of Brotherly Love. We’ve never pretended to have all the answers but we do know all the right questions. And we’ve never settled for easy answers to hard questions. Sometimes feelings get hurt and sometimes new connections are made. Sometimes painful truths emerge and sometimes we actually learn something. And sometimes we […]

ARTSY: For They Shall Inherit The Earth

Photo by LEE JEFFRIES LIGHT BOX: In 2008, accountant and amateur photographer Lee Jeffries was in London to run a marathon. On the day before the race, Jeffries thought he would wander the city to take pictures. Near Leicester Square, he trained his 5D camera with a long, 70-200 lens on a young, homeless woman who was huddled in a sleeping bag among Chinese food containers. “She spotted me and started shouting, drawing the attention of passersby,” Jeffries says. “I could have just walked away in an embarrassed state, or I could have gone over and apologized to her.” He […]

ARTSY: Q&A w/ Photographer Jessica Kourkounis

CLICK TO ENLARGE Jessica Kourkounis [pictured, below right, with chicken) is a Philadelphia-based photographer specializing in documentary, editorial and portraiture work. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, Time, The Art Economist and ESPN The Magazine. Her brother plays drums on many of the albums in your collection. Presumably. PHAWKER: How did you get interested in photography? What was the ‘Eureka!’ moment when you decided that this is what you wanted to do with your life? JESSICA KOURKOUNIS: I’ve been interested in photography for so long I honestly can’t even remember […]

I SEE A DARKNESS: Twin Peaks 24 Years After

EDITOR’S NOTE: This originally posted on September 23rd, 2011. BY MIKE WALSH Like millions of Americans, I was fanatical about Twin Peaks when the show originally aired on ABC in 1990. I rearranged my schedule, so I could be home to watch it. I recorded it on VHS tape when I couldn’t. I debated the identity of Laura Palmer’s murderer with friends and strangers. I had dreams about Bob, the malevolent demon that haunts the show. So when Netflix made Twin Peaks available for streaming recently, I immediately added it to my queue. I started watching in August and every […]


David Lynch, PAFA press conference, 11:02 am, by JONATHAN VALANIA PAFA: In 1967 as an advanced painting student at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia (PAFA), David Lynch made a hybrid work of art that brought together painting, sculpture, sound, film, and installation. Six Men Getting Sick (1967) expanded Lynch’s practice and opened him up to the possibilities of filmmaking. He went on to become internationally renowned as a film director but never stopped working as a visual artist. Lynch has maintained a devoted studio practice, developing a parallel body of painting, prints, photography, and drawing that […]