ROBERTA FALLON Covers the Haverford opening For the Philadelphia Daily News

Posted on February 3, 2012

Roberta Fallon covers the People’s Biennial opening for the Philadelphia Daily News:

“The Haverford opening on Jan. 29 was nontraditional. Portland artist Rudy Speerschneider gave out homemade cheesesteak-flavored ice cream. Local artist Maiza Hixson videotaped viewers, asking them what they thought about the show’s red, white and blue branding on its website, in the show catalog and in the wall text, which looks like the styling of Howard Zinn’s polemical 1980 book, A People’s History of the United States.

For local contributions to the show, Matthew Callinan, Haverford College’s campus exhibitions coordinator, and his student helper David Richardson were charged with finding local artists outside the circle of professional artists who make up most group exhibitions in the region. The two flooded the town’s coffee shops with postcards, met with staff at community centers to get names and ideas, and talked up the project with friends and anybody they met. They also made an online call for artists.

Fletcher reviewed work brought to two open calls, one at the Friends’ Center in Center City and one at Haverford; he also chose from work submitted online. About 70 people showed up for the two open calls. According to Callinan, they represented a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences: “Those who had never been in art school or never been in an art class, recovering drug addicts, but also Maiza Hixson, who has a graduate degree.”

Hixson is an artist and, post-open call, a curator at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington. “I was No. 6,” she said about going to the open call, which was a take-a-number process. “I was told, ‘Harrell will be over to see you soon.’ I was really nervous. It was like being in an experiment.”

Hixson’s work is one of three documentary videos in the show, which seems like a lot of documentary videos in a show that’s otherwise filled with simpler works. And while there are no traditional artists in the show, the work represents the traditionally expansive range of art-making. The show features clay sculpture, piƱatas, soap carvings, drawings, paintings, including one on a slice of tree trunk, and exquisite black-and-white photographs of rodeos and street scenes from Guatemala and Mexico.”

Continue reading coverage of the opening in it’s entirety here.

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