Last-Minute Summer Art Getaways: Barbara Kasten’s “Stages” at ICA Philadelphia

Why not take a drive this weekend.

Installation Views Barbara Kasten: Stages
Installation Views Barbara Kasten: Stages

Installation Views Barbara Kasten: Stages.
Photo: Courtesy of ICA Philadelphia.

So you woke up late on the weekend, and need to get out of the city to see some art, but you haven’t had time to plan. No problem: We’ve done the research for you. Here’s our pick for a great emergency art getaway this week.

Who: Barbara Kasten is a multimedia artist who is renowned for her abstract photography. The Chicago born-and-based artist has cultivated a style that questions perspective and distorts the visual plane, with work ranging from eye-catching Technicolor tones to mellow greyscale hues. Each of her pieces, whether saturated in high-impact shades or not, fosters a vibrancy of its own through her exploration of light, shadow, and reflection within her prop-based still lifes.

Kasten’s portrayal of sharp edges and defined surfaces are filled with movement and life, despite the static nature of some of her primary subjects, such as Plexiglass, mirrors, and sheet metal. Her work has been featured in shows at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, to name a few. She recently finished a solo exhibition entitled “Set Motion” at Bortolami in New York, which showcased her praised photography series “Transpositions.”

Installation Views Barbara Kasten: Stages

Installation Views Barbara Kasten: Stages.
Photo: Courtesy of ICA Philadelphia.

What: Although celebrated primarily for her photography, Kasten’s practice has also encompassed sculpture, painting, theater, textile, and installation. Stages, the first career survey of her work, serves to highlight Kasten’s mastery of these media through a showcase of her best pieces. The retrospective exhibition is comprised of forgotten works from the artist’s late 1970s archives to Kasten’s most recent creations, which includes the debut of her latest “video-sculpture” installation.

Stages presents Kasten’s skillful versatility as an artist, as well as the essence and evolution of her distinctive style that, today, serves as an inspiration to many young artists. Curated by Alex Klein, the show fully immerses its viewers into the numerous stages of Kasten’s career through its multiple room expanse and total of eighty showcased works.

Installation Views Barbara Kasten: Stages

Installation Views Barbara Kasten: Stages.
Photo: Courtesy of ICA Philadelphia.

Where: Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, located at 118 S 36th St, Philadelphia, PA 19104.

When: The exhibition will be on view through August 16th. ICA Philadelphia’s weekend hours are 11am to 5pm.

Why: Despite beginning her practice in the late 70s, Barbara Kasten’s work has only recently begun to gain traction. Deemed one of 2015’s top fifteen artists to watch by artnet News critic Christian Viveros Fauné, Kasten’s overdue recognition could be due to the forward-looking nature of her photography and its newfound resonance within our current culture, about which she notes, “…it seems that the orthodox idea of the photograph as a tool for capturing reality has run its course.”

If one show isn’t enough of an incentive to make a trip to Philadelphia, the city is a mecca of prominent art museums and galleries. Do/Tell is a special exhibition at ICA Philadelphia running through August 16 and featuring the work of artists Erin Bernard, Heather Hart, Rachelle Mozman, and Akosua Adoma Owusu. Centered on the themes of home and identity, the exhibition seeks to tell the tales of the artists’ personal and ethnic histories and of the homes they have fostered within these parallel narratives, primarily through the use of interactive installations and cinematic pieces.

On view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art are both “Dance: Movement, Rhythm, Spectacle” and “Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Paining.” The former presents a study of motion and performance in its various forms through prints, drawings, photographs and films, and features prominent artists including Charles Demuth, Jose Clemente Orozco, and Reginald Marsh. The latter is an exposition of renowned impressionist painters and their equally celebrated art-dealer Paul Durand-Ruel, and presents the “untold story of Monet, Renoir, Manet, Degas, and Pissarro.”

In addition to its own beloved collection, the Barnes Foundation is currently showing “Mark Dion, Judy Pfaff, Fred Wilson: The Order of Things,” which presents three installations by the internationally renowned artists. Each work, commissioned for the show, is a response to the unorthodox way that Albert C. Barnes displayed his collection.

For related stories see:

Last Minute Art Getaways: Tara Donovan’s “Platform” at the Parrish Art Museum

 


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