Philly Blogger Curates Amazon’s First Series of Artist Prints

Local art blogger RJ Rushmore is behind Amazon's new Fine Art venture.

Local art blogger RJ Rushmore is behind Amazon’s new Fine Art venture.

Over the weekend, Amazon launched an online gallery showcasing limited-edition prints from seven international street artists. They’ll be available for purchase starting December 7th.

This is the mega online retailer’s first foray into commissioning and selling one-of-a-kind works of art. I know what you may be thinking: Amazon choosing to begin with street artists was a bit presumptuous, considering the art form and commercialism don’t exactly go hand in hand, but organizers were smart enough to hire a curator who could bring some credibility to the project while still being able to cull a group of artists who could attract buyers.

That guy was RJ Rushmore, a Haverford College graduate, creator of street art blog Vandalog, and co-founder of a great new gallery space in Fishtown called LMNL. For his day job, he serves as social media and marketing manager at the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.

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The 15 Essential Paintings in PMA’s New American Still Life Exhibition

If you’re an impatient type of person or easily bewildered in art museums, we’ve made things easy for you — with the help of Kathy Foster, head of the American Art Department at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. We’ve assembled a list of the essential works to seek out at the Art Museum’s recently opened major exhibition, “Audubon to Warhol: The Art of American Still Life,” which explores the tradition of American still-life painting. Nearly 100 artists are represented — from the Philadelphia Peale family of the late 18th century to 20th-century pop icons Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol. The exhibit is an abundant feast for the eye. Here are our essential 15, with images when they were available.

Venus Rising From the Sea — A Deception (1822), Raphaelle Peale


The Peales were a Philadelphia family of artists and naturalists who created their own museum here. The father, Charles Willson Peale, an artist himself, wasn’t taking any chances about the future careers of his sons and named them accordingly: Rembrandt, Raphaelle, Titian and Rubens. Raphaelle committed himself to the still life genre that examined objects and our relationship to the material world — much to the displeasure of his father who would have preferred he take up the more illustrious narrative painting to teach morality. This painting is a beguiling trompe l’œil, depicting a coy conceptual deception. The painted handkerchief appears to be placed on the artist’s easel to block the image behind it of a nude Venus. Peale has even painted the Venus in a different style from the handkerchief superimposed in front. All we can see peeking out from behind the handkerchief is a slender foot below and a delicate hand above. The picture conveys the idea of temptation and attempts to entice you into the picture. It is a perfect welcoming painting to begin the exhibition.

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Adam Wallacavage Exhibiting Photographs For the First Time in Over a Decade

Ship on rock

We all know Adam Wallacavage‘s octopus chandeliers, the whimsical light fixtures that decorate ceilings from here to São Paulo and beyond. It’s been a long time, though, since the local photographer and sculpture artist exhibited photographs. Like over-a-decade long. That’ll change soon, when Fishtown contemporary art space LMNL Gallery opens his new exhibit of photographs called “Shipwrecks of Unicorn Beach.”

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Getty Images Investigating Perry Milou’s $1 Million Pope Painting

Papal Plagiarism?:  Franco Origlia's photo of Pope Francis (left, via Getty Images); Perry Milou's $1 million painting (right, via Peter Breslow Consulting & Public Relations)

Papal Plagiarism?: Franco Origlia’s photo of Pope Francis (left, via Getty Images); Perry Milou’s $1 million painting (right, via Peter Breslow Consulting & Public Relations)

With the pope’s Philadelphia visit quickly approaching, anyone with an ounce of hustle is trying to cash in. There’s Holy Wooder beer, Pope Francis onesies and even a $1 million pope Pop art-style painting by none other than Perry Milou, son of restaurateur and former federal prisoner Neil Stein. But now the international photo agency Getty Images is investigating Milou’s pricey pontiff portrait due to its similarity to a Getty photograph. Read more »

The Curious Case of Nicky Isen

Left: Illustration by Peter Strain. Right:  The I. Brewster Gallery near 21st and Race. Photograph by Christopher Leaman

Left: Illustration by Peter Strain. Right: The I. Brewster Gallery near 21st and Race. Photograph by Christopher Leaman

The stakes are so high, everyone wears funeral smiles — gray grins, barely there before they’re gone. The courtroom falls silent when Nathan Isen walks in, looking a little sheepish. A small group of friends awaits, including Ralph Yaffe of Boyds and Scott Isdaner, whose family co-founded Pep Boys. They shake Isen’s hand, wish him luck, awkward because no one knows if this is hello or goodbye.

The third-generation descendant of a prominent Main Line family, Isen has, for more than 30 years, sold artwork to Philadelphia’s doctors, lawyers, the well-to-do and the purely aspirational. And he is here today, in federal court at 6th and Market, to be sentenced on a money-laundering charge. Read more »

Spotted: Philly’s Cityscape Captured Through Paper Sculptures

A photo posted by Drew Leshko (@drewleshko) on

Philadelphia-based artist Drew Leshko is doing something really cool. Using paper and wood, he carves, cuts, and layers the materials to create replicas of buildings, news stands, and other features in his neighborhood. His raison d’être? His artist statement makes it clear:

… Leshko creates documentary studies of architecture from his neighborhood in an attempt to create a three dimensional archive of buildings that are in transitional periods. The work examines gentrification and history, how historical relevance is determined, and most importantly, what is worth preserving.

The paper sculptures – done at a 1:12 scale, we might add – are crafted from observation and photographs, with Leshko not shying away from minute details like city detritus and acid rain deposits. We’ve included photos of some of his pieces from his Instagram below, although you can see eleven of the seventeen in person.

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The 5 Coolest Projects Pew Just Funded


One project includes a PHS pop-up at the Philadelphia Rail Park. | Rendering via Friends of the Rail Park

The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage was founded in 2005, and has given out more than a thousand project grants and named more than 300 fellows. One project it funded was Zoe Strauss’s 10-year retrospective, which produced one of the greatest pieces of art in recent memory: The scowling woman on the billboard at the corner of 10th and Reed. So I’d consider it a success already.

It recently announced its 2015 grantees. 34 projects will be funded. 13 fellows were named. Three achievement grands were given out.

We perused the list and found our five favorites. Read more »

So Fetch: Mean Girls Art History May Be the Best Instagram Account Ever

From the @meangirlsarthistory Burn Book Instagram.

From the @meangirlsarthistory Burn Book Instagram.

Trust us when we tell you that this is, like, so fetch: There’s an Instagram account that makes majoring in art history (unlike being in the mathletes) so popular that you’ll become high status man candy before you know it.

We’re pretty much in love with the Mean Girls Art History Burn Book (@meangirlsarthistory) that juxtaposes classic works of art with quotes from the popular movie. It’s genius, and it’ll surely prevent you from becoming a fugly slut. Unlike butter, we assure you that it’s not a carb, and we suggest checking out the gallery of images from the Instagram account below before we call you a home-schooled jungle freak. Of course, head over to the Instagram account yourself and follow it for more fetch updates.

And we promise we won’t tell anyone that you smell like a baby prostitute.

Rare Paul McCartney Artworks Going on Display at XFINITY Live

Paul McCartney‘s upcoming show at Wells Fargo Center is sold out, but promoters are giving fans another chance to experience the former Beatle—and this one’s free. At 4 pm on the day of his show, across the street at XFINITY Live, an exhibit will open displaying a series of rare, hand-signed lithographs that he’s made throughout his career.

McCartney's Beach Towels will be among the lithographs available for purchase at XFINITY Live!

McCartney’s “Beach Towels” will be among the lithographs available for purchase at XFINITY Live.

The collection comprises five of McCartney’s seven released lithographs, including Chief Rug, his first art piece in 10 years. The other works include Big Mountain Face, Egypt Station, Ancient Connections, and Beach Towels.

All the pieces will be available for purchase, but you better hurry if you’re interested. The exhibit closes on the same night, an hour after the curtain comes down on his show at Wells Fargo Center.

If Beatles art interests you, you may want to head down to Ocean Galleries this week, where you’ll find a display of the artwork of John Lennon that was curated by Yoko Ono. More info here.

Glowing Pedicab Sculptures to Hit the Parkway in 2016

Digital rendering of “Fireflies” on the Parkway, courtesy of Cai Studio.

Digital rendering of “Fireflies” on the Parkway, courtesy of Cai Studio.

It was announced this week that 50 local artists and cultural organizations will receive a total of $9.6 million in grants from the Pew Center for the Arts and Heritage, which means several projects that have been living in the heads of local artists will finally have a chance to see the light of day. Keep your eyes out for announcements from local organizations, including this cool idea from the Association of Public Art (aPA).

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