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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Slought Foundation

What a small world, a couple of weeks ago I was raving about Martin Parr and back in Philadelphia we find ourselves printing some Martin Parr images for an upcoming show at the Slought Foundation.

The show is curated by Eduardo Cadava with Marcelo Brodsky and features artists Manel Esclusa (Spain), Pablo Ortiz Monasterio (Mexico), Martin Parr (England), Cassio Vasconcellos (Brazil), Marcelo Brodsky (Argentina), and Horst Hoheisel (Germany).

A opening reception will take place on April 19, 2011 from 6:30-8:30pm, and will be preceded by a symposium beginning at 4:30pm featuring the artists and curators in conversation.

The Slought Foundation is at 4017 Walnut Street, Philadelphia  -

Posted by Rick

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Architectural Digest Home Design and The Artist Project - New York

Big crowds!
Still in New York and this time at the Piers again (still getting over the Armory show from a few weeks back) and what a difference, with the Armory show it's art but really commerce and art the this show it's very much commerce with art!.
Art Dealer Lynn Dunham was again in evidence fresh from Red Dot but with a couple of great prints of ours by artists David Mitchell. We had an interesting proofing process on these prints as David lives in the far East but we managed, Skype was a great tool for communication and it worked very well. Also with Lynn was James Kennedy, who was also at Red Dot NY.

Lynn Dunham's booth

After wandering around for a bit and being amazed at what you can spend on an outdoor kitchen ($50,000 plus) I went over to the Artist project where Philadelphia artist and customer John Murphy had a most impressive booth showing his very contemporary prints and frames (they are one!). I manned the booth for a few minutes and was amazed at the number of people that stopped at the booth to pick up a card or ask questions. It was practically EVERYONE who walked past. Needless to say I think John had a good show, this work cannot stay as inexpensive as it is for much longer so if you have been thinking of buying one of these pieces I would not delay.

John Murphy's booth at The Artists Project

Posted by Rick

AIPAD New York - March 19, 2011

I have been going to AIPAD - The Association of International Photography Art Dealers - for many years and I was very pleasantly surprised to see a lot more contemporary work this year, or so it seemed to me anyway. Philadelphia's own Paul Cava was back at AIPAD after an absence of 18 years and apparently doing very well. Paul was one of SIlicon's first customers back the the heady IRIS days.
Paul Cava's back (and his back) at his booth at AIPAD

There was some very good contemporary work and, of course, I was interested in some of the more interesting prints like these prints from Jaques Bedel at Galeria Vasari from Buenos Aires. They were printed on thin clear acetate and mounted so that they were around 3/4" off the wall - a very interesting effect. We have printed a lot on clear acetate but this i the first time I have seen anything displayed quite like this and they looked good.
Jaques Bedel images on clear acetate

Of course Silicon's prints were in evidence from our friend and good customer Tetsugo Hyakutake, late of the University of the Arts (one of our ex students) and UPenn graduate program.

Martin of Gallery 339 with Tetsugo Hyakutake's work in the background

He is currently an artist-in-residence in Rotterdam and is coming back to Philadelphia for a major show of his work at Gallery 339. The artists reception is on April 9th. His work was also on Alan Klotz Gallery's booth Tetsugo's New York presence.

Another Tetsugo Hyakutake at Alan Klotz gallery's booth 

My personal favorite at AIPAD were prints from Sohei Nishino, represented by London based Michael Hoppen Gallery. They really defy description but basically he wanders around cities taking hundreds of images which he then prints as, I guess 8 x 10's, then arranges then as massive collages, photographs them again and makes large prints which he calls (and they look like) dioramas. They have to be seen to be believed and I urge you to check out his web site but as with most great prints they have to be seen in person to be really appreciated.

Sohei Nishino - diorama 

Posted by Rick

Monday, March 14, 2011

Silicon in Prague (Czech Republic)

Sabrina and I went to Prague for a long weekend and had a fine old time taking in the sights of Prague and seeking out contemporary art.

David Cerny - Photo: Rick

Photograph: Sebastien Pirlet/Reuters

Possibly the most famous comtemorary Czech artist is David Cerny whose sculpture "Entropa" made quite a stir. It was created in 2009 to celebrate the Czech Republic's Presidency of the EU. Cerny initially claimed that the 8 ton sculpture was a collaboration of 27 EU artists but later divulged that it was, in fact, all him. Bulgaria was really pissed off (literally) as their country was shown as the floor of a urinal. Romania was shown as a Dracula theme park and France simply had the work Strike across their map. One story I have heard is that he was asked to give back the 350,000 Euros and take the sculpture down and another is that he took the sculpture down to protest against the way Czech prime minister Topolánek had been deposed.
We had seen some of his work in the park and climbing on the communication tower and understood that Entropa was at the first private not-for-profit museum in Prague - The  DOX Center for Contemporary Art. So off we went on the excellent public transport system to DOX.

Sadly we found out that Entropa was now on permanent display in Pilsner - (yes, there is a town called Pilsner in Czech Republic - and as a side bar it's also where the name Budweiser originally came from) - but there were several really good exhibits. I loved the Tour . . . 2010 a modified Volvo bus by Lucas Rittstein

Bus by Lucas Rittstein Photo by Rick

and Shoe Christ by Petr Motyčka which is around 19 feet high and contains around 1,500 shoes. It reminded me a little of Paul Chan's Shoe Tree which Silicon printed and was on display at MOMA a few years ago as part of their Printmaking Now exhibit (

Petr Motyčka Shoe Christ - Photo by Rick

The ground floor exhibit by English Photographer Martin Parr ( was really great and of particular interest to me because of the images of the British middle class. 

Martin Parr

Street art has always fascinated me and in Prague Lennon's wall has an interesting history. In the late 80's it was a wall where students would write comments against the communist regime and the movement the students followed was called ironically Lennonism by the government. Since then the wall has traditionally had paintings on Lennon (not Lenin) and words to Beatles songs etc. The wall is owned, curiously, by the Knights of the Maltese Cross who at some point gave up trying to paint it and now it is an ever changing canvas.

Lennon wall Prague - Photo by Rick

Just around the corner for the wall is this bizarre wall / fence where couples come and attach a padlock to the fence as a symbol of love. Go figure . . .

Love Locks Prague - Photo: Rick

Finally we were surprised to see in a little store just by the Charles Bridge the Little Wanderer by Yoshitomo Nara which comes from our friend Larry Mangel of Cereal Art in Philadelphia. When we went into the store and told the nice assistant she told us she had had two other couples from Philadelphia in the store that day and that the store was owned by a Czech Glass artist who lives in New York. Small world indeed.

ARTEL Store Prague

Posted by Rick

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Philagrafika Invitational Portfolio 2011

Monday evening and we welcomed both the print shops and artists participating in the ninth Philagrafika Invitational Portfolio. Everyone gathered at our apartment above the print studio in Old City.

Now some would say that I was a little crusty when people started arriving at, what I thought was early, but I got the time wrong and it was more a case of me being late. Of course  I am English so I expect everyone to be late anyway but once I got the mad panic out of the way (since I was a full 1/2 an hour behind everyone else) and with a drink or six to calm my nerves everything worked out great.

As my wife was in Florida, Michal Smith formerly of Silicon and more lately of Cradles to Crayons ( kindly helped out with the food especially the delicious home made chocolate cake.

The party gave everyone the chance to meet informally over food and drink and chat about what possibilities there may be with the various print shops the artists are working with.  For our part, Silicon will be working with Jennifer Levonian, we had a chance to meet for the first time and talk about how we might push the envelope a little. Everyone seemed to be very excited and I think that once again we will collectively produce a stellar portfolio. The participants are:

  • Henry Bermudez- Fabric Workshop and Museum
  • Dufala Brothers- CR Ettinger Studio
  • Jennifer Levonian- Silicon Gallery Fine Art Prints 
  • Alex Lukas- Borowsky Center for Publication Arts
  • Paul Swenbeck- Space 1026
  • Thomas Vance- Second State Press

The prints in the portfolio can be purchased individually or as a set. The prices are ridiculously low and it's a great opportunity to buy some great works from local artists. Many of the previous years works sold out quickly. You can see the past year prints on Philagrafika's web site (

Those who stayed a little longer were treated to an impromptu musical interlude by the Dufala Brothers - a kind of reprise of the opening part of their recent concert at Christ Church.

Posted by Rick

The Armory Show NY

Sunday after a brief foray to the upper east side we arrived at the Armory on piers 92 and 94, slightly damp but ready to go. I guess we forgot how big the show is and with limited time available we forged forward knowing we would only get to see a small fraction of the exhibits.

Interesting, for only the second time, we saw some work mounted on glass, yes not plexi but glass. I asked Steven, who does our mounting whether he thought we could do it he gave me a look like "you wanna see broken glass all over the floor" but nevertheless we may try it if I can find some tempered glass.

And speaking of Steven, 50% of the famed Dufala brothers, his and his brothers work was on display at Fleisher/Ollman Gallery ( booth on the main floor, another excellent Philadelphia gallery.

For our own part, we were in a collecting mood and after asking the price of an unusual painting by Giorgio di Chirico of Venice - unusual not because of any other reason than it was not in his style but still very beautiful - and was politely informed that is was 520,000 dollars, or was it Euros? We finally settled on our art purchase for the day; a dollar bill printed with the words "New York is a Lot of Work" for the princely sum of $25 - surely an investment :)

For those of us who are or were gallery people Untitled Gallery of New York have some paintings displayed by simply leaning them up against the booth's wall with particularly apposite text . . .  if you were in the gallery biz.

One of the best uses of video I have seen was on this subway door in an installation by Leandro Erlich. The video was almost hypnotic as the riders move and shift with the movement of the subway but you don't; so familiar yet so weird.

This bunch of small animals which looked like they may have been made from a bunch of small animals was both amusing and creepy at the same time.

Around 2 pm the place began to get really busy we were pretty much art'ed out, when we left the line of people waiting in the rain to get in was very long.

Posted by Rick

Pulse and Red Dot New York

This weekend found us in New York for the various art happenings, Saturday was a beautiful day and I don't know if that made the various venues more or less busy. Our first stop was Pulse partly because it was near our hotel on the lower east side and partly because we enjoyed it so much in Miami.
There were two local (Philadelphia) galleries at Pulse so we stopped in at Gallery Joe, ( who by all account was having a good show and Pentimenti (, good to see some of the best Philadelphia galleries in New York where there seems to be so much more sales opportunities.

Then we went on to Red Dot where we met art dealer and client Lynn Dunham and another client NY artist James Kennedy ( 

Posted by Rick