Monday, May 26, 2008


I'm almost done with a new piece, but I'm spending the next week or so looking at art in New York with my mom, Margie Simpson, and Tom Drucker, who are fabulous artists as well as fabulous relations of mine, so that new piece is going to have to sit on the drawing board for a little while. (That's not just an expression. I actually do have a drawing board.)

I've been looking at Pennsylvania Dutch drawings online. Their drawings are called "fraktur", or "fractur" and they're usually done to commemorate an event: a wedding, funeral, or birth. They're basically the most beautiful birth, marriage and death certificates ever. I'm putting some images of them online here, most of which I borrowed from frakturweb, an incredibly comprehensive site which includes extensive information about fractur and citations for each image.

This is by some guy who is known as the "Flat Parrot Artist."

There is also some really fascinating information online about a religious group that made lots of of fraktur called the Schwenkfelders. I love that word. It almost makes me want to get religion.

The new piece I'm doing is based on some early American board games I saw in an exhibition called Beyond This Time and Place, Children's Books in England at the Rare Book Collection at the Philadelphia Free Library. It's a great exhibition and was recently reviewed on artblog, as was my show at Gallery Joe.

I've seen lots of great stuff lately, much of which was done by people I know and like. Rob Matthews, Rubens Ghenov and Chris Davison have geniusy work up at Jenny Jaskey Gallery right now, and my pal Mauro Zamora won the Pew, which is great. My friend Eva Wylie has had a few beautiful exhibitions lately, most recently one at Vox Populi Gallery. I didn't get over there, but artblog reviewed it and I love how great it looks online.

The piece was called "Roaring Tulips." Too cool.

There is tons of good stuff happening in Philly right now. The ICA has Trenton Doyle Hancock, the Philly Museum has William Kentridge and there are a thousand more exhibits around town I haven't seen yet. The Wexler Gallery has a pretty interesting exhibition with some nice Damien Hirst prints in it, but I think the show was stolen by Joe Boruchow, a friend of the curator's who is in his first group show.

In addition to looking at lots of good art lately, my head is still spinning from seeing Lynda Barry talk, which was incredible. She's so smart it's scary, and she wraps her brilliance in humility and humor that make her words go down like the most nutritious cupcake ever. I'm reading her new book, What It Is, and loving it, but I can't wait for the podcast of the talk to come out so I can make everyone I know listen to it. My students are doomed.

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