The Uncanny Valley

Notes on art, culture and preservation

Posts Tagged ‘philadelphia museum of art

More Art Notes: Phila. Museum introducing Pay-what-you-wish Wednesday Nights with free movies, yoga

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A scene from Art After 5. Now try to visualize all these people on mats lost in meditation…

A propos of First Weekends and extra art hours comes this announcement from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. After souring many of its patrons when it cut back its pay-what-you-like Sundays to just the first Sunday of the month, the Museum is introducing a new name-your-price admission feature for Wednesday nights during extended hours from 5:00 to 8:45pm. Beginning February 13, you’ll come across art talks, live music, free film screenings, and a casual atmosphere of culture and chance encounters that makes you recall how fun real dating was before OkCupid. Think of it as a less snazzy cousin to the hugely successful Art After 5 Fridays, only with patrons taking yoga classes(!) by the grand steps instead of sipping overpriced Steven Starr cocktails.

It’s hard to complain about more museum hours, and it looks like the events calendar will offer something for everyone. And seriously, lovelorn singles, some of the date scenarios practically write themselves: see if you can go wrong with a little Cezanne and a screening of Amélie on February 27.

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Written by cwmote

February 4, 2013 at 8:32 pm

The story behind the mystery woman on that billboard at 10th and Reed

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If you’ve shopped recently at the South Philly Acme on Passyunk Ave. near 10th and Reed Streets, you may have noticed a nondescript billboard image of a bespectacled, heavy-jowled woman overlooking the intersection.

A closer look

If you’ve been left bemused by the image, wondering what commercial product is supposed to be sold here, then the ad campaign has paid off. The woman is, in fact, a real person. Her name is Antoinette Conti, and she’s your typical South Philly neighbor. And the neighbor who captured her in this picture is the local photographer Zoe Strauss — best known, until recently, for her DIY photo exhibits underneath the concrete no man’s land of I-95.

Throughout the city, 52 other images in Strauss’ collection are similarly being displayed without comment or explanation. You may also know the images at 15th and Vine, 9th and Spring Garden, and 62nd and Market, as well as Cottman and Brous in the Northeast — candid portraits of everyday people, or unorthodox perspectives on their lives and living spaces.

All of these displays are a carefully coordinated effort to repurpose commercial spaces towards non-commercial ends. The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s retrospective, “Zoe Strauss: Ten Years,” opened on January 14 and runs through April 22. Although it’s a big leap from under the expressway to inside the halls of the establishment, it is great to see a hometown artist, a champion of the poor and working classes, getting her dues and a wider audience. Watch this space for more on the retrospective itself.