Two of the most compelling shows I have seen over the last year were curated by artists. The first was Robert Gober‘s inspirational show of the work of Charles Burchfield (which was first exhibited at the Hammer Museum before coming to the Whitney). It was a revelation, completely transforming my view of this easily overlooked American artist from every day regionalist to transcendent master of mystical landscape. (I wrote about Burchfield in more depth here.)
The second demonstration of artist as curator success happened this weekend in Philadelphia: Physical Graffiti, at the James Oliver Gallery, curated by Pam Farrell. I hope my enthusiasm is not dismissed as a gesture of self promotion—my work is included in this show after all—but this is the first time I have seen a group show where I responded to and respected every piece included. And an extra bonus: The artists who was able to attend were as engaging and genuine as their work. Every single one. What are the chances of that? With her astute eye working hard, Pam chose well on so many levels. (For more information about Pam’s process, Leslie Avon Miller—one of the artists included in the show—has posted an interview with her here.)
It was a great evening and a terrific turn out. Thanks to Pam, James Oliver and his staff, and to all who were able to join us for a memorable night. The show runs through October 15.