Fellows Friday News: Engaging Climate Change, American Culture, and the Media

1/9: Brent Wahl, 2014 Pew Fellow. Photo by Ryan Collerd.
2/9: Zoe Strauss. Photo by Ted Passon.
3/9: King Britt. Photo courtesy of the artist.
4/9: J. Louise Makary, 2013 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.
5/9: Afaa Michael Weaver. Photo by Lynda Kodish.
6/9: Dan Murphy and Anthony Smyrski, a.k.a. Megawords, 2012 Pew Fellows. Photo by Colin Lenton.
7/9: Karen M’Closkey and Keith VanDerSys, 2013 Pew Fellows. Photo by Colin Lenton.
8/9: Matthew Mitchell, 2012 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.
9/9: Dito van Reigersberg in Zero Cost House. Photo courtesy of Pig Iron Theatre Company.

This month’s Fellows news digest features photographer Zoe Strauss, whose Sea Change exhibit is now on view at Haverford College, following the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Deepwater Horizon, and Hurricane Sandy.

A short feature on multi-media artist Brent Wahl takes us through his sculptural photographic method. He talks about his work with found objects, and about staying put in Philadelphia as a result of his Pew Fellowship.

Fellows Afaa Michael Weaver, Major Jackson, King Britt, and Donald Camp took part in Ceremonies of Dark Men in Washington, DC this past December, in poetry, music, and visual arts. The public art project engaged contemporary social justice issues around the perception of race and gender.


Mark Your Calendars

Photographer Zoe Strauss (2005) gives an interview with NewsWorks on her latest exhibition, Sea Change, now on view at Haverford College. The photographs, vinyl prints, and projected images trace the landscape of post-climate change America.

Karen M’Closkey and Keith VanDerSys (2013) are organizing an architecture symposium exploring the influence of media on our understanding and formation of landscapes. Examining changes in the digital realm over the last decade, the panel takes places at the University of Pennsylvania, March 19 to March 20.

J. Louise Makary (2013) prepares to open her latest show, This is where wool comes from, at Brooklyn’s Bannerette on January 31. The show is the culmination of work done with trans filmmaker/artist Madsen Minax during a summer residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Alex Da Corte (2012) kicks off 2015 mounting his largest installation to date at Luxembourg & Dayan in New York City. Opening February 26, the new show, Die Hexe, “traces a cycle of emotions, while broaching questions of memory and biography, consumerism, American culture, folklore and the history of art.”

As a part of the guiding team behind PAPAYA, PA Performing Arts for Young Audiences, Whit MacLaughlin (2002) gears up for a second season of “exhilarating live performances of high artistic caliber for Philadelphia families and youth,” says executive director W. Courtenay Wilson in a recent Philadelphia Inquirer feature.

Dito van Reigersberg (2002) will collaborate with The Bearded Ladies Cabaret, January 26 to February 2, for Mommie Queerest, an “all-musical, all-queer version of the cult classic film Mommie Dearest,” as described in Broadway World.


NEA Fellowships Announced

Major Jackson (1995) has been awarded a 2014 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. NEA Chairman Jane Chu says the 2014 grantees “will continue to demonstrate the power the arts have to deepen value, build connections, and foster an atmosphere of creativity and innovation both at the community level and with individuals throughout the nation.”


Fellows in the News

Photographer and multi-media artist Brent Wahl (2014) discusses his process—using collected and staged objects—in a video feature as part of the University of Pennsylvania’s artist spotlight series.

Sarah McEneaney (1993) gives an in-depth interview about her intensely autobiographic work and career in Philadelphia for the “Beer with a Painter” series at Hyperallergic. “Even when I am doing a landscape or cityscape,” she says, “the paintings are autobiographical.”

The New York Times says Matt Mitchell’s (2012) complex new collaborative material, premiered at the Jazz Gallery with his quartet, “will establish a bold signature for him as a composer and bandleader.”

Paste Magazine interviews Mary Lattimore (2014) on touring, improvisation, and the harp. In the interview, Lattimore credits her Fellowship for “two years of financial piece of mind…It’s an opportunity to not work all these little, part-time jobs and just focus on your art. It’s been really amazing so far.”

Essex Hemphill’s (1993) oeuvre as a writer is spotlighted on Queerty.com, as a queer black writer who “deserves your attention.”

Judith Schaechter’s (1992) stained-glass work The Birth of Eve was recently acquired by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Nora Atkinson, the Lloyd Herman Curator of Craft, discusses Schaechter as “one of the foremost innovators, teachers, and practitioners in her field” in the Smithsonian’s blog Eye Level.

Alex Da Corte’s (2012) collaborative installation at the Philadelphia ICA this past fall, Easternsports, makes Hyperallergic’s top ten exhibitions list for 2014.


Pew Fellows Examine American Culture

Afaa Michael Weaver (1998), Major Jackson (1995), King Britt (2007), and Donald Camp (1995) participated in the Washington, DC-based artistic social justice project, Ceremonies of Dark Men. As described in The Huffington Post, this “outdoor interactive experience” worked to show “black men, as they are: complex people, and not racialized caricature. People who go to work every day, people who love their families, people who create the world around us.”

In the spirit of the collaborative publication Megawords, Huck Magazine invited Anthony Smyrski (2012) to interview Dan Murphy (2012), his collaborator. The two discuss Dan’s career, Philadelphia, and the fringes of American culture.

Stuart Netsky’s (1995) latest show at Bridgette Mayer Gallery, Sirens, explores feminine glamor in multimedia work. It received rave reviews from The Philadelphia Inquirer as well as theartblog.


We speak with Xavier—2013 Pew Fellow, hip-hop dancer, and Post-it aficionado—whose recent work The Unofficial Guide to Audience Watching Performance was hailed by Dance Magazine as “artful and mesmerizing.”

Meg Foley presents an exhibition of improvisational research and performance documenting up to 750 dances, which Foley performs on a daily basis at 3:15pm.

Grants & Grantees

The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania is widely known for giving artists exhibitions at critical points in their careers.

Grants & Grantees

In 1995 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 16 Philadelphia-based artists, and grants to 23 dance and music organizations in the greater Philadelphia region.

Grants & Grantees

In 2003 the Center awarded Pew Fellowships to 12 Philadelphia-based artists, and grants to 63 dance, music, theater, and visual arts organizations and practitioners in the greater Philadelphia region.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Casey Childs is the founder and executive producer of Primary Stages in New York City.

Grants & Grantees

Virgil Marti is a visual artist and a 1995 Pew Fellow.

In this week’s Fellows Friday Q&A, we speak to poet Travis Macdonald, who questions authorship with written works that are lively and whimsical without being frivolous, and which offer critique and reflection of the contemporary moment.

Grants & Grantees

Brent Wahl (Pew Fellow, 2014) works primarily in photography and time-based mediums, transforming everyday materials and detritus into mesmerizing compositions.

Grants & Grantees

Trapeta B. Mayson is a poet and a 2002 Pew Fellow. She serves as the executive director of Historic Germantown.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Elisabeth Sussman is curator and Sondra Gilman Curator of Photography at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Most recently, she co-curated the 2012 Whitney Biennial.

Grants & Grantees

Anthony Smyrski works with Dan Murphy as the artist duo Megawords. They are well known throughout Philadelphia for installations that are equal parts gathering space, artist studio, and storefront.