Newsworks reports that President Obama will award the National Medal of Arts to Billie Tsien and Tod Williams, architects of the new Barnes Foundation (as well as Penn’s Skirkanich Hall and two dorms at Haverford College), and to James Turrell, the extraordinary light artist who recently created one of his signature “skyspaces” in Chestnut Hill, along with nine other recipients.
Last week the Barnes Foundation hosted an intimate dinner party for their trustees and supporters of their new exhibit “The World Is an Apple: The Still Lifes of Paul Cézanne” which opens at the Barnes on Sunday, June 22nd, and runs through September 22nd. The show features 21 borrowed works from museums and private collections from around the world.
The exhibit was curated by Judith F. Dolkart — the Barnes curator who has since departed from the museum to become director of the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Massachusettes — and Benedict Leca, director of curatorial affairs at the Hamilton art gallery.
I’ll be the first to admit that the probably-expired yogurt in my fridge has more culture than I do. I barely made it out of Art History 101 alive, the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word “symphony” is the candy bar, and most of my exposure to opera has come in the form of commercials for canned ravioli. That’s not to say that I don’t consume massive amounts of culture on the daily — it’s just not the classy, smart-people-at-an-erudite-cocktail-party kind. It’s more the kind with Jason Statham.
I felt a little out of my league during a recent visit to the Barnes Foundation, which is approaching its second anniversary in its controversial new space on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Not having visited the original Merion location prior to its relocation, I was wowed by the intricacies of the idiosyncratic layout of each room, to say nothing of the tremendous work itself.
Of course, since I know very little about any of the incredibly important artists represented in the collection, I felt my brain turning the reins over to the neurons responsible for rotting it. I began noting every portrait that bore even the slightest resemblance to a dumb celebrity or personality, writing the names of the pieces down in my notebook with a pen, until security flexed on me and insisted I use a tiny golf pencil instead. The results are laid out for you after the jump.
I was having fun, but I felt like a total moron — but then I overheard a tourist telling his wife that the dark, disturbing work of morose expressionist Chaim Soutine reminded him of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery. We immediately became best friends, forever, in my head.
I’m sorry Dr. Barnes.
Before another stupid storm comes and makes us all squirrel away at home for far too long, get out and see some art.
Tonight the Center for Art in Wood opens “Roy Superior: Patent Models for a Good Life,” which is being billed as “a remembrance of his furniture, sculpture and drawings.” Superior, who passed away last August at age 78, was clearly influenced by the machine drawings of Da Vinci, but they clearly have their own contemporary aesthetics and practical uses. Superior was a guy who dug comfort, food, and the joys of human life. Or at least that’s what we can glean from his contraptions. This collection of Superior’s work should be able to give us insight into a man whose art was a reflection of the things he loved. Feb. 7–April 19, 5 p.m.-8 p.m., free, The Center for Art in Wood, 141 N. Third St., 215-923-8000, centerforartinwood.org.
On Friday night, January 31st, young professionals gathered for Global Glam! to celebrate the Barnes Foundation’s newly commissioned works by contemporary artist Yinka Shonibare MBE. The evening started with an intimate cocktail party with the members of the Contemporaries in one of the private rooms. The Contemporaries are a dynamic group of young patrons and art enthusiasts that promote The Barnes Foundation’s educational mission through a wide variety of programs and social events (membership starts at $500). Then the party really got started in the main hall with DJ Royale spinning tunes from the ’80s and ’90s that packed the dance floor. The guests enjoyed the colorful Shonibare exhibit, some items which will be available for sale in the future, as well as global fashion ensembles on loan from Moore College of Art and Design.
In October 2012, the city’s Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation (PIDC) issued a Request for Qualifications from developers for the acquisition of the Family Court Building at 18th and Vine (court operations are moving to 15th and Arch). PIDC made one thing abundantly clear: They were only accepting proposals “from qualified and experienced development firms with the demonstrated ability to successfully design, finance, and develop historic properties of a similar size, cost, scope, and complexity.” Which narrowed it down. Significantly.
Of nine contenders, three are currently left standing. Logan Square Holdings, which counts Ken Goldenberg as one of its investors, would bring Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. Carl Dranoff would join HRI Properties of New Orleans to create a Starwood Hotels & Resorts property. And Philly’s P&A Associates and the Peebles Corp., which has long had interest in this area, would bring another Kimpton Hotel to town.
It took Dr. Michael Toaff and his wife five minutes to decide they were going to buy Albert Barnes’s Merion estate in 1988. That was all the time the owner would allow for them to make up their minds. “She had a watch,” Toaff said. “I ran through the house.” He made an offer for $5,000 more than the asking price on the spot. He also waived mortgage contingencies. At more than 10,000 square feet on two of the four stories alone, that’s quite a dash.
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After dinner at Amis, Anthony Bourdain has turned up at Dirty Frank’s with Han Chiang (Han Dynasty) and Peter McAndrews (Paesano’s, Modo Mio, Monsu, Popolino, La Porta). With that crew in tow it sounds like the night is just getting started.
Check out this Munchies episode to see what happens when Chiang and McAndrews hang out.
Bourdain has been town all day today filming an episode of The Layover. Earlier in the day the bad-boy chef was at Paesano’s and DiBruno Bros. in the Italian Market before taking in some culture at the Mütter Museum and the Barnes Foundation.
Thanks to Chef Eric Paraskevas for the photo
Restaurants around the Benjamin Franklin Parkway are teaming up to create Fairmount Restaurant Week. Local restaurants will be celebrating the city’s art scene by providing $35-or-less three-course prix fixe menus to celebrate the opening of the Barnes Foundation. The restaurant deals run from Friday, May 25th to Sunday, June 3rd. Visitors of nearby museums and foundations are encouraged to make it a night out and make reservations around Fairmount.
The event also coincides with the start of “With Art Philadelphia,” a new marketing campaign designed to inform those inside and outside of Philadelphia about the city’s powerful art scene.