99 miles and 5 blocks from Philly…and some other stuff.


First off:

My studio-mate Amy Finkbeiner is in a group show opening Friday at Autoversion, Ltd. (6-8pm)

Fritz Chesnut, Amy Finkbeiner, and Danny Hobart

Autoversion, Ltd.
453 West 17th Street @ 10th Avenue
New York, NY 10011

Better than my description, Amy’s drawings are fantastic takes on how rock stars attain status as cultural/religious icons… or celebrity is America’s new religion.


Here’s the meat and potatoes:

Last weekend we were in Philly to visit some friends who recently moved there and were able to check out the city some.

It was dope, yo.

I’ve met a few people from Philly recently, through Dayton Castleman, and have been encouraged to hear about what’s going on there with regards to art.

I was introduced to Rob Matthews and his wife Tracy, who, being in the small circle of long-standing Philadelphians I could use as a reference, sold me on visiting. Rob has a great blog on what’s going on with both the music and art scenes (and I suppose the Phillies, but I haven’t been reading it long enough to catch much of that, besides….I’m a disgruntled Tigers fan). His drawings look great – check them out here.

Mr. Matthews gave me directions to Jenny Jaskey Gallery. I was excited to see her space after meeting her at a NYCAMS opening and hearing about her program. She was showing a sculpture by Mark Shetabi of a parking garage. I don’t have the descriptive capacity to describe a parking garage sculpture in a way that will make you want to actually see it, so I’ll just say that it’s rad and you should see it.

Coincidentally, Beth wanted to go to Eastern State Penitentiary for the fright-fest (we got there too early) and I wanted to see Dayton’s installation. It worked out for both of us (the prison was sufficiently creepy for Beth).

Matt and Annie (our Philly friends) took us to Franklin Fountain. That’s a totally legitimate reason to move to Philly right there. Awesome. I swear I have the biggest sweet tooth ever.

Sadly, I didn’t get a cheese steak. I know, I know. We even walked right by Jim’s Steaks. Fortunately for me, I work 5 blocks from NYC’s next best thing – 99 Miles to Philly. I like it, but what do I know, I’m from Michigan. I know from casseroles and Bells Beer (Oberon is still the best summer brew ever, period), but I have to defer to my two former Philly-livin co-workers. They vouch for it. I eat it.

Now I’m working on a trip to see the church studios and maybe make it a Service Industry (my dork-name for our [fantastic] crit group) field trip.

I like Philly.

Photos from the trip are up here.

I also like Regina Spektor and saw the hometown girl at Hammerstein Ballroom on Tuesday. The show was great, the venue suuuuuuuucks. There’s nothing like not being able to see the act you paid to see (it seemed to make the crowd a little restless). Fortunately, I’m not the shortest person on record, but really, they should jack the stage up about 3 feet. Spektor was fantastic. I’d see her again (in a smaller venue) in a heart beat.

On the way to the show, I stopped at Pace Wildenstein to see the Keith Tyson show, Large Field Array. It kicked me in the conceptuals. I don’t know exactly why this affected me more than the 5 billion other shows around Chelsea, but it sort of summed up a line of thinking or addressed a similar thought process that really made me stop short. I’m not saying it’s a fantastic piece, although I might say that after processing it a little longer. What struck me was the way he visually addressed so many topics, individually, while making the whole thing work together – and maybe it doesn’t quite hold together (I’m not sure yet). My first reaction feels like he ruined the (constructed) image for me – or at least really complicated my relationship to it. That’s probably way to simple and just means I’m being fickle about my own attachment to a specific aspect of my own work. Nonetheless, things are shifting in my studio (more like exploding) and somehow this show struck a chord.

Finally…poor kids (I’ve been watching too much Daily Show and Colbert Report lately). Our socially conscious/responsible friend Jeff invited us to a benefit last night for the Teak Fellowship. They aren’t fighting aids, but they are fighting poverty in a way that seems to be working well. Jeff is a mentor. The fellowship helps New York poorest kids apply and attend high school – specifically, the best high schools in the country. When NYC’s public schools have a 58% graduation rate, Teak’s fellows (about 200 kids so far) are at 100%. I don’t know much about other, similar programs, but they seemed to really effect these kids’ lives and I have to applaud their effort. Plus I got a free tote bag. Tote.




Filed under Art

2 responses to “99 miles and 5 blocks from Philly…and some other stuff.

  1. Rob

    I think “rad” is sufficiently descriptive of Mark’s garage. Franklin Fountain is goood, right? If not for my genetic leanings towards high cholesterol, I would live there.
    For the record, I am not much into bloggin’ about the Phillies…at least compared to Dayton. Once college basketball starts, you’ll see where my loyalties lie.
    Glad you had a good trip down to Philly.
    Y’all come again.

  2. sexo

    Philly is a great place to get lost in. I originally traveled there for my pilgrimage to Kahn. As for the Tyson show… Well… Cubes… Quite a ways from Minimalism… Great to map out and follow… Nice.

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