Join us in celebrating the collaborative exhibition, Preservation: Objects Registering the Past and Future, with a special event. This event will start with a series of artist talks held at The Clay Studio and will conclude with cocktails afterwards in the garden at the Physick House, located at 321 S. 4th Street.
In partnership with the Physick House and The Clay Studio, select artists will explore the potential intersections of historical preservation and contemporary art making. The exhibition will be on view in Philadelphia's Physick House, a federal style mansion built in 1786, as well as in the galleries at The Clay Studio. Exhibiting artists include Jane Irish, Jacintha Clark, Terri Frame, Roberto Lugo, Adam Ledford, Kevin Van Zanten, Jane Irish, Haviland/Coloagiovianni, and Syd Carpenter.
There will be a public reception on Saturday, July 22. This special event will start with artists talks at The Clay Studio from 2 to 4 pm, continue with a walking tour that stops at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and concludes with cocktails in the garden at the Physick House.
The Concept of Preservation:
One if the compelling ironies of historical preservation is that caring for the physical objects in very particular ways also means continuing to the illusions those objects were designed to create. Seeing things for what they are means seeing what they were pretending to be. See for example, the marble fireplaces surrounded by wallpaper made to look like drapery or the faux-marble wallpaper of the breakfast room designed to embody the characteristics of Egyptian stone. When we give tours of the property, we often ask visitors to make connections between out current standard of domestic material, forms, and amenity, and those of the time period represented by the Physick House mansion. Sometimes we are in a position of helping to pretend that the house is what it used to be, and sometimes we are inevitably projecting our own ideas about how a house like this might have functioned as a social signifier. Historical properties thus not only preserve particular places but serve as records for wider patterns of taste, and inevitably, as indexes of how we have understood those patterns. The question, “What was this place,” becomes “what do we imagine that a place like this would have aspired be.”
By the same turn, how do we create new objects that echo the stories of the past? Contemporary artists exhibiting in Preservation are engaged in a conversation with the present and the past, making art that harnesses the power of both as states of being.