First Friday Picks: Superior Machines, Global Patterns and Cupcakes

Before another stupid storm comes and makes us all squirrel away at home for far too long, get out and see some art.

Shaker Dragster (1984) by TK Superior.

Shaker Dragster (1984) by Roy Superior.

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,

Etching of the Asian Arts Initiative's Gilbert Building on wood.

Etching of the Asian Arts Initiative’s Gilbert Building on wood.

How do you celebrate 20 years of successful art exhibitions in Philadelphia? Well, if you’re Asian Arts Initiative (AAI) you ask people to get in on the creative process. Tonight will be the beginning of a four-month collaborative show that comes to us in three parts. The first, “Participate,” is a multimedia exhibit put together after an open call to artists that asked, “How would you define the Asian American experience? What is your experience?” The next installment is a timeline offering a look back at the Asian Arts Initiative building, and an analysis of its influence on the community throughout the last two decades. Feb. 7–May 23, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., free, Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine St., 215-557-0455,

Piece from Yinka Shonibare's "Magic Ladders," now on display at the Barnes Foundation.

Piece from Yinka Shonibare’s “Magic Ladders,” now on display at the Barnes Foundation.

If you’re searching for art and live music, you’re in luck. This evening the Barnes Foundation is hosting “First Friday! Global Patterns” with a performance by Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra, a local group that pulls from West African and North Indian musical influences with a Brazilian and Afro Cuban twist. The First Friday event is meant to celebrate — you guessed it — the Barnes’ global collection. On paper (or, eh, screen) this may sound like some snooty party for art yuppies, but come on, check out those drums. At $25 a pop for members, it’s one of the only First Friday events you’ll pay for, but chances are it’ll be worth it. Feb. 7, 6 p.m.–9 p.m., $25, The Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, 215-278-7000,

Also worth checking out:

  • Winter Valentine’s Carnival at Never Too Spoiled. There will be a fashion show, astrology readings, and cupcakes.
  • Works on Paper by various artists over at Pii Gallery. Lovely, and totally peruse-worthy.