05/25/2012 - Art is expressed in many ways but often displayed in only a few—a gallery or museum, a home or office, a public park. Two recent exhibitions by former Pew Fellows in the Arts featured an unusual method with very different settings.
Zoe Strauss, a 2005 Fellow, took photographs of ordinary (and not so ordinary) street life in her native Philadelphia, to be displayed on the columns that support Interstate 95, which runs through the city. Those photos became known as I-95, part of a larger exhibition called Zoe Strauss: 10 Years, last winter at the Philadelphia Museum of Art—and on city billboards. “The highway links sweeping literary ambition and local interest, lyrical and documentary photography, portraiture and the urban landscape,” the New York Times said.
Stained-glass artist Judith Schaechter also chose a mundane setting: Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. It once housed notorious criminals such as Al Capone but is now a historical landmark and, among other endeavors, features art exhibitions. Schaechter, a 1992 Fellow, proposed stained-glass windows for the hulking building.
The Battle of Carnival and Lent opened in April and consists of 17 windows, many with religious or mythical themes. The title refers to the largest window, a richly detailed work that is a tribute to Pieter Brueghel’s famous painting. Appropriately, it suggests a theme familiar to the former penitentiary: the struggle between good and evil.
For more on the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, go to www.pcah.us/fellowships.