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“OY/YO” Installed In Philly

May 2, 2022

Honored to be invited to document the installation of a new Philly landmark this weekend! For roughly five hours this past Sunday afternoon, artist Deborah KassOY/YO sculpture was installed at The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History (5th and Market Streets).

The artwork will officially be on view for the next year, from this May to next. But the sense I got was that most folks involved are hoping to make this a more permanent part of Philly’s public art landscape. I certainly hope they can find a way for it to stay!

“It’s about how two letters can mean so many different things to so many different communities,” artist Deborah Kass said to me as we watched the “Y” get locked into place.

“Deborah Kass’ OY/YO sculpture is a beautiful representation of both the stories we tell inside our museum and the larger story of our nation across the street on Independence Mall,” noted Weitzman curator, Josh Perelman. “It speaks in many languages. It is ‘oy,’ it is ‘yo.’ You can use whatever tonality you want and a new meaning comes.”

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Philly To Celebrate 30th Anniversary of First Fridays with Outdoor Premiere of Documentary In Old City

April 26, 2022

This First Friday, May 6th, marks the 30-year anniversary of First Fridays in Old City–and we’re gonna celebrate!

I can’t tell you how important attending First Fridays were to me in connecting me to an art world I had not yet known about when I was in my 20s. If you’re like me and our city’s First Friday tradition has touched you through the years, stop by Old City galleries next Friday evening. Then join us for a special premiere screening of a new short documentary that looks back at the origins of First Friday, its decades long history, and its place today.

The free screening will take place in the outside courtyard of the Betsy Ross House (239 Arch Street) from 8-9pm, hosted by Old City District. The short doc is 10 minutes long, and it’ll be on repeat for that hour if you can’t make it right at 8. I’ll be there shooting a bunch of social media content documenting the anniversary, so I hope you come by! This is Philly arts history!

Click here to see a list of the Old City galleries that’ll be open with exhibitions on May 6th that you can check out before the screening.

Historic photos of Old City courtesy of Old City District

Artist Sarah Peoples Creates A Pop-up Sculpture Garden Made From Trash In South Philly

April 22, 2022

Absolutely in love with this temporary sculpture garden from artist Sarah Peoples! Located at Palumbo Park in South Philly, the artist has installed six sculptures assembled from recycled and post-consumer material for a project titled, Deconstructed Landscapes.

“The primary inspiration for Deconstructed Landscapes are the paintings of Thomas Cole, the founder of the Hudson River School, a contemporary of Emerson, and arguably the quintessential American Romantic Landscape painter,” the artist wrote in a press release. “Cole’s paintings rely on symbolism to convey ideas in a self-invented framework by utilizing five necessary components needed to paint a distinctly American landscape: water, mountains, sky, forest, and wilderness. Each one of these elements bears meaning in Cole’s depictions of the majesty of the American landscape. Mountains convey the fortitude of the human spirit, forests convey courage or immortality, sky is the soul of ‘man’, etc.”

Created for the Da Vinci Art Alliance‘s Everyday Futures Fest, Sarah’s installation will only be up through this weekend and come down on April 26th. But the artist and I (not so) secretly hope that if enough people show the artwork love, it can stay up a bit longer!

See previous work from Sarah Peoples around Philly here.

BREAKING: Artist Deborah Kass’ Iconic “OY/YO” Sculpture Is Coming To Philly

April 18, 2022

So excited to break this awesome Philly public art news: From May 2022 through May 2023 Philadelphia will be home to artist Deborah Kass‘ iconic OY/YO sculpture! Deborah Kass is a Brooklyn-based artist who focuses on the intersections between identity, art, pop culture, and politics. And OY/YO is coming to Philly thanks to The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History, where it will be installed at 5th and Market Streets!

I first saw, and fell in love with this artwork on a visit to New York City in 2016, where I captured the photo above. Note: you’re not supposed to climb the installation.

Deborah Kass | OY/YO, 2015 | Painted Aluminum (Rendering) | © 2022 Deborah Kass / Artists Rights
Society (ARS), New York | Photograph by Barry Halkin 

At 8-feet tall, 16-feet wide, and 5-feet deep, one side of the artwork reads “YO,” referencing the attention-getting phrase used throughout Philly (and elsewhere), as well as “I” in Spanish, while the other side reads “OY,” a popular Yiddish phrase used in Jewish and American culture.

“I created OY/YO thinking about the American promise of equality and fairness and our responsibilities to make the country a better place for all,” says Kass. “With hate and division now on the rise, it is urgent to see our commonalities, what we share, and what brings us together.”

Special thanks to The Weitzman for letting me break this story. I love public art. I love Philly. And I’m so excited to see this artwork in Philly!

Introducing ‘Artseeing’, A New Print Booklet From Streets Dept

April 11, 2022

Streets Dept is releasing a printed booklet of self-guided tours this summer! We’re calling it Artseeing.

It’s not just murals—it’s monuments, shops, galleries, and more! It’s sightseeing, but for art of all types.

How can you get your copy of the first edition of Artseeing? Join the Streets Dept Patreon!

  • If you’re already a member of the Paper ($10), Events ($35), or Benefactor ($50) tiers, thanks for your support! You’re all set to automatically receive Artseeing in three months.
  • If you’re already a member of the Content ($5) tier, thank you for your support as well! To receive Artseeing in three months, all you have to do is upgrade your membership by the end of April.
  • If you’re not a member of the Streets Dept Patreon yet, join the Paper ($10) tier now to get Artseeing after your third month. You’ll also receive a bunch of other membership benefits!

Direct support through Patreon from fans like you makes new projects like Artseeing possible. We’re so happy to be creating this new publication for our Patreon members and we’re beyond thrilled to share it this summer!

Thanks as always for the continued support,

Conrad Benner + Eric Dale

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