“The overall intent of my work is to develop a visual myth about the build up and aftermath of war.”
Jane Irish (b. 1955) works at the intersection between the decorative and the political, deploying both art and craft with equal engagement (and abandon) to create paintings, sculptures, and objects that stand alone, or are part of elaborate installations. The tension in Irish’s work arises from her genuine love of all things Gilded Age—the porcelains, tapestries, and gleaming interiors—and a resistance to the very systems of power that this imagery represents. A monumental painting of an ornate, rococo interior reveals, upon closer inspection, anti-Vietnam war texts embedded in the surface texture. These texts come out of a long-term project Irish initiated in collaboration with the activist group Vietnam Vets Against the War.
Irish’s formal art education began at the Barnes Foundation in the early 1970s. She received her B.F.A. in painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1977 and her M.F.A. at Queens College in New York in 1980. She moved through the East Village scene before settling in Philadelphia, where she has been an exhibiting artist since the 1980s. Philadelphia’s Locks Gallery has presented two solo exhibitions of her work within recent years: The Home Front: Jane Irish’s Art of War, in 2011, and Sông Hương: Withdrawing Room, in 2013. “Withdrawing Room is at once deeply satisfying to look at and equally tricky to understand,” wrote The Huffington Post. Another solo exhibition, War Is Not What You Think, was on view at La Salle University Art Museum and the Connelly Library in Philadelphia in 2012.
Naomi Beckwith is a curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, known for recognizing artists whose practices are social, participatory, and communal.
Thom Collins on the Barnes Foundation’s efforts to “unpack” the museum’s collection and history through performance.
Located in Independence National Historical Park, the Independence Visitor Center is the official visitor center of Philadelphia and the region and is the primary point of orientation for Independence National Historical Park, the City of Philadelphia, and the Southern New Jersey and Delaware River Waterfronts, as well as Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery Counties in Pennsylvania.
Influenced by Italian neo-realism’s emphasis on working-class protagonists, Saman’s films examine cultural identity, family, class, and daily life among Arab Americans.
In this month’s Pew Fellows news, President Obama nominates Pepón Osorio to the National Council on the Arts, Columbus State University announces plans to open the Bo Bartlett Center, and Jenny Sabin creates an installation for the Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial.
Ted Passon (Pew Fellow, 2014) is a filmmaker whose work explores human relationships and how they shape our world.
Dutch artist Jeanne van Heeswijk will initiate collaborations that reimagine Philadelphia’s changing landscape through a series of installations and events across the city, laying the foundation for an installation that will activate the Museum’s Perelman Building.
The White Box Residencies invited outside artists to creatively explore and interact with the Center’s physical space.
Karen M’Closkey and Keith VanDerSys (2013 Pew Fellows) explore the potential of new tools, fabrication technologies, and construction to expand the beauty and sustainability of the urban landscape.
PRISM will explore the artistic possibilities that arise at the intersection of saxophone music, technology, and time-based visual art, to lay the foundation for an evening-length production.
Institute of Contemporary Art Director Amy Sadao on the impact of audience feedback on curatorial and programmatic decision-making.
Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Strange Currencies, this forum of independent contemporary art groups and spaces from around the country will explore what it means to be (and stay) “alternative.”