Top 5 Art Shows of 2014

There was no polling of art aficionados, no pouring over magazines or newspaper reviews, and there’s definitely no big ballin’ art plays for likability listed below.  These shows made the list because I visited them more than once (that rarely ever happens) or my sensibilities were totally confounded by the creativity.  Shows that make that kind of impression can provide a year’s worth of conversational tidbits and a measure to which you might hold all others.  Aw, enough with that…these shows rocked my 2014.

Spring Break Art Show

It’s fun, fresh, and daring like newly graduated art school minds before they get crushed and compromised. This curator driven show, gets set up in an old schoolhouse during Armory Arts Week in New York. Yes, we know it’s technically an art fair. But the 2014 show, PublicPrivate won us over with installations that we talked up all-year-long.

Kara Walker: A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby

Kara Walker’s Installation at the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn was a “homage to the unpaid and overworked Artisans who have refined our sweet tastes from the cane fields to the Kitchens of the New World on the Occasion of the demolition of the Domino Sugar Refining Plant.” The exhibit was mind-blowing – from the overwhelmingly beautiful conceptual execution of the sugar-coated sphinx-like woman, to the very unexpected nauseating smell of burnt sugar permeating the hot factory.

A photo posted by @hahamag on

Swoon: Submerged Motherlands

Swoon’s intricate wheat-paste portraits normally grace New York buildings, but for Motherlands she went large-scale, telling landscaped stories against a backdrop of dramatically blue washed walls in the Brooklyn Museum rotunda. The star of the show was the massive sculptural tree that nearly kissed the rotunda’s 72 foot high glass domed ceiling.

David Lynch: The Unified Field

Lynch’s grime aesthetics found solace at Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia (PAFA), where he studied as an advanced painting student in 1967. The exhibit explored Lynch’s hybrid collection of works, displaying a delicate balance from disturbing narratives to richly descriptive lithographs. Unified Field is his world of opposites that he wanders in and out of at will.

Interhaven: The Works of Caitlin McCormack

McCormack’s sorted things in shadowboxes lay posed and gracefully still as if they once knew air – their layers of articulated overlapping crocheted beige string bones resembled the things they never were. The show’s curio layout carried a pleasantly haunting tone, but it was the lingering of McCormack’s stored memories seen through these tangible manifestations of contained dreams and nightmares that left me feeling domed under her bell jars.

*thank you to paperclips215 & Paradigm Gallery for the use of their Instagram Photos




If you missed opening night of the KAWS Exhibition, fear not, there’s another chance to party with The Companion. PAFA (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts) is hosting KAWS AFTER DARK.

Here’s PAFA’s rundown of the nights’ Highlights:

-Get down and funky with DJ Foxx Boogie all night long -Watch out for pop-up dance battles by the Repstyles Crew in the galleries -Participate in a “KIMPSONS” Trivia Contest and show off your knowledge of all things Simpsons-related -Make a KAWS-inspired button to take home -Tour the installations of old and new art with curators and artists from PAFA’s staff -Enter a raffle to win a limited edition KAWS exhibition poster

I suspect tickets will go pretty fast for the event – so pop over to the PAFA Site and reserve yours now.

PAFA After Dark: KAWS

Thursday, November 7th, 6-9 pm.

KAWS Companion Comes to Philly




It has come to pass…the KAWS Companion has landed at 30th Street Station.

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in collaboration with Amtrak bought the 16 foot-tall Companion sculpture to rest at 30th Station.

Kaws Companion will be there until May 14th, then it’ll be hauled away for some other city to enjoy. Lucky for us, it’s departure won’t signify the end, but the arrival of the KAWS Sculpture Plinth Exhibit at PAFA.


*image credit: Ginger Rudolph

KAWS Installation at 30th Street Station

What an evolution – the street artist known at KAWS is best known to most of us for his creation, The Companion.  For the past few years have felt like a burgeoning KAWS explosion.  Forget that fact that I tend to see his toys everywhere, but then in 2011 ‘The Companion’ created a lot of buzz when it showed up at the Armory Show.

Then in 2012, he scores a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloon – I’d love to know how they go about deciding what artists will get to watch his creation cruise down New York Streets.  It’s a coveted spot, not to mention for a street artist, when you don’t expect that type of art gets lots of attention from the Macy’s decision makers.

KAWS parade

Now his sculpture work is part of an exhibition being taken around the world. The Companion will sit in several places throughout 2013.  Including my hometown, Philadelphia come April 11th, 2013.  Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in collaboration with Amtrak is bringing the 16 foot-tall Companion sculpture to rest at 30th Station.

Kaw’s Companion will be there until May 14th, then it’s hauled away for some other city to enjoy.  Lucky for us, it’s departure won’t signify the end, but the arrival of the KAWS Sculpture Plinth exhibit at PAFA.


kaws companion