Dan Murphy

2012 Pew Fellow

1/11: Dan Murphy and Anthony Smyrski, a.k.a. Megawords, 2012 Pew Fellows. Photo by Colin Lenton.
2/11: Megawords magazine, issues 1–17, 2012. Various offset printing methods and paper. Photo courtesy of the artists.
3/11: Spread from Megawords magazine, issue 2, 2006. Photo courtesy of the artists.
4/11: Cover of Megawords magazine, issue 3, 2006. Photo courtesy of the artists.
5/11: Megawords honor boxes, 2009. Photo courtesy of the artists.
6/11: Megawords storefront, 2008. Photo courtesy of the artists.
7/11: Zine-making workshop at the Megawords storefront, 2008. Photo courtesy of the artists.
8/11: Megawords newsstand, 2010. Photo courtesy of the artists.
9/11: Megawords installation at Living As Form, Essex Street Market, New York City, 2011. Photo courtesy of the artists.
10/11: Megawords installation for Zoe Strauss: Ten Years at Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2012. Photo courtesy of the artists.
11/11: Megawords installation for Zoe Strauss: Ten Years at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2012. Photo courtesy of the artists.

“[Megawords’] practice springs from a place of permeable borders and boundaries, a place of possibility. We seek a new and inclusive way of experiencing culture and we ask the audience to be active participants instead of passive viewers.”

Dan Murphy (b. 1976) is one member of the artist duo Megawords, along with Anthony Smyrski.

Dan Murphy and Anthony Smyrski work together as the artist duo Megawords. They are well known throughout Philadelphia for installations that are equal parts gathering space, artist studio, and storefront. In addition, they produce a self-published, biannual print magazine produced in the independent spirit of 1970s punk zine culture. While their practice has a global reach and they have collaborated with other artists internationally, it is deeply rooted in Philadelphia. As Megawords, Murphy and Smyrski have converted an abandoned newsstand in Northwest Philadelphia into an active kiosk, opened a pop-up exhibition and performance space in Chinatown, and organized free film screenings in abandoned lots, among other public projects. “We deplore culture where the audience is expected to sit back passively,” they write.

Murphy and Smyrski have expanded the context of their practice in recent years, working with established institutions such as Creative Time in New York City and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. In early 2012, they oversaw an interactive kiosk at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as part of the exhibition Zoe Strauss: Ten Years. The pair sees these new partnerships as logical steps in reaching a wider audience, and as an opportunity to challenge traditional notions of what can happen within a museum’s space.

References

Spanish artists Patricia Gómez and María Jesús González utilized a traditional mural restoration technique while in residence at the Holmesburg Prison in Northeast Philadelphia.

Grants & Grantees

The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center is a nonprofit organization devoted to the study, practice, and appreciation of photography in the Philadelphia region.

Grants & Grantees

Brian Phillips (Pew Fellow, 2011) is founding principal of Interface Studio Architects, based in the South Kensington area of Philadelphia.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Winner of two Walter W. Naumburg Awards, soprano Lucy Shelton enjoys an international career bringing her dramatic vocalism and interpretive skills to repertoire of all periods.

Grants & Grantees

Gerald Levinson (Pew Fellow, 2007) has been increasingly recognized as one of the major composers of his generation.

Grants & Grantees

The Institute of Contemporary Art plans to organize the first major retrospective to situate four decades of Barbara Kasten’s photography in relationship to other areas of artistic practice.

Questions of Practice

2014 Pew Fellow Brent Wahl reflects on how Barbara Kasten’s Construct works helped him “make some sense of the forces of the postmodern climate of the 1980s.”

The Community Education Center produced the 25th New Edge Artists Service Program and Performance Series, connecting emerging and established artists with resources to rehearse and showcase their work.

Questions of Practice

We asked the 2013 Pew Fellow poets to share samples of their work. Watch Frank Sherlock read a selection from his poem “Little Sensation.”

Collaborators & Colleagues

David Herskovits is the founder and artistic director of Target Margin Theater.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Michael Auping is currently the chief curator at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, known for his ambitious thematic and monographic exhibitions.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Robert H. Browning, born in Singapore and educated in London, was the founding director of New York City’s World Music Institute, a position from which he retired in 2011.