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happy birthday gropius

May 18, 2010
gropius birthday

'walter Gropius surrounded by a group of women and a one-man band, outside, celebrating his birthday', photographic print | date: 1963 | photographer: unknown | source: smithsonian archives of american art, marcel breuer papers, 1920-1986 (dig id: 1021)

cubus assemblage

November 14, 2009

Spring Garden is an atypically wide street (for Philadelphia) and quite busy. I pass this sculpture fairly often.


cubus assemblage | date: 1979 | artist: theodore miller | location: 5th and spring garden, philadelphia | photograph: philadelphia public art, chris purdom

The building is quite long (it stretches the full width between two number streets) and to me, the proportions seem off. Despite this fact, I like the sculpture very much.


cubus assemblage | date: 1979 | artist: theodore miller | location: 5th and spring garden, philadelphia | photograph: whyy, dan pohlig

I noticed the work on the Philadelphia Public Art website, which lists the it’s date as 1979. They also list the title as Cubus Assemblage.

The WHYY website gives the date of the work as 1972. They that the building is occupied by Maternity Corporation, which owns the brands A Pea in the Pod, Motherhood Maternity, Future Trust, and Destination Maternity. They note that ‘Reader George Matysik says that cubes represent 9 months of maternity.’

Its a nice thought, but I am unsure that it was the original intention.

The Smithsonian Art Inventory Catalog provides more information:

Title: CUBIS

Artist: Theodore Miller, b. 1921, sculptor + Bass and Elias, architectural firm.

Installed: 1979

Owner: Smith-Kline Beckman

Description: An abstract sculpture composed of nine different sized aluminum boxes mounted on the side of the Smith-Kline Beckman warehouse on Spring Garden Street. Gradually the boxes change from a flat rectangle at one end of the building to a full cube at the other. The sculpture was designed to be viewed by passing vehicles. Depending on the direction from which the vehicle approaches, the aluminum boxes appear to either grow out of the wall or recede into it.

Remarks: ‘The sculpture was installed as part of the Redevelopment Authority’s One Percent for Art program. The inscription on a plaque located inside the warehouse reads: CUBIS/Sculpture by/Theodore Miller/Installed Under the Fine Arts Program/of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority/Smith Kline/Corporation.

Reference: Penny Balkin Bach’s “Public Art in Philadelphia,” Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1992, pg. 247.

I had trouble finding more information about the warehouse building, when GlaxoSmith Beckman occupied it or even anything else about the artist. Bass Architects does not mention this warehouse on its website nor was I able to find much on Elias Design Group – other than they usually work on hotels.

I suppose that these details really do not matter. The work is there and will continue to be there.

tacha + antin

October 24, 2009

I was looking at the work of artist Athena Tacha online, when i saw this image of her recent installation, Thirty Six Years of Aging, at the Ellipse Gallery in Arlington, VA.

thirty six years

thirty six years of aging | date: 1972-2007 | artist: athena tacha | installation: ellipse gallery, arlington, va (2008)

It immediately made me think of the quite famous Eleanor Antin work, Carving: A Traditional Sculpture.

eleanor antin

carving: a traditional sculpture| date: 1972 | artist: eleanor antin | collection: the art institute of chicago | description: one hundred and forty eight black and white photos document thirty-seven days (four photos per day) of the artist's weight loss.

Both, it turns out, were executed in 1972 (though Tacha’s work is ongoing). Antin work documents her her self imposed bodily changes (actively losing weight) while Tacha is more interested in what aging has done to her body (passive changes).

postcards | alison knowles

October 21, 2009
alison knowles

Event Score for SOMETHINGELSE PRESS | artist: alison knowles | date: 1966

alison knowles

Shoeprint, Roskilde, Denmark | artist: alison knowles | date: 1985

‘Alison Knowles was born in New York City in 1933. She is a visual artist known for her soundworks, installations, performances, publications and association with Fluxus, the experimental avant-garde group formally founded in 1962.’ (bio)

public collections

September 11, 2009

Artists’ Files & Archives: Collection of Marc Fischer, Chicago, IL, USA

Cindy Loehr

Cindy Loehr

Conrad Bakker

Conrad Bakker

Deborah Stratman

Deborah Stratman

Michael Piazza

Michael Piazza

Mike Wolf

Mike Wolf

‘About : Public Collectors consists of informal agreements where collectors allow the contents of their collection to be published and permit those who are curious to directly experience the objects in person . . . Public Collectors is founded upon the concern that there are many types of cultural artifacts that public libraries, museums and other institutions and archives either do not collect or do not make freely accessible. Public Collectors asks individuals that have had the luxury to amass, organize, and inventory these materials to help reverse this lack by making their collections public.’

I do this as well. I try not to let my tendency of picking up every piece of exhibition-related material become a hoarding problem. Most of what made the cut sits in a box, disorganized and only rarely looked through. Would I be more or less likely to spend time with the material, if I were to sort and organize it. Once it is physically ‘put away’ would it become more or less accessible?