In the Galleries: May 2021

Highlighting photography exhibits and photo-related happening in the Philadelphia area.

One tiny silver lining in the midst of the pandemic has been the proliferation of online exhibitions. Museums and galleries around the world are beginning to utilize virtual presentation platforms, and it seems likely this trend will continue. Granted, looking at images on a screen is no substitute for engaging with artwork in person. However, since some museums and galleries remain closed to the public, going online is currently the only way to access their special exhibits and collections.

Such is the case with the Philip and Muriel Berman Museum of Art at Ursinus College, located about an hour outside of Philadelphia. Fortunately, a virtual guided tour of their excellent spring exhibit, Kris Graves – Testaments, is available online. (Fair warning, the navigation tools take a little getting used to.)

Kris Graves’s photo and video installations comment powerfully on the Black experience in America. In particular, I found myself mesmerized by a grid of 75 or so collaborative studio portraits that bathe the sitters in the colored lights of their choosing. I was also struck by “The George Floyd Projection,” a beautifully composed, exquisitely detailed long exposure that captures Alex Criqui and Dustin Klein’s already-iconic lighting projection onto Richmond’s Robert E. Lee monument and its graffiti-covered base during the height of the BLM protests last summer. In conjunction with the exhibit, the Berman Museum hosted an insightful online talk with Graves, which I recommend if you’re interested in learning more about his work and his process.

The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center has an outdoor exhibit, Archives Reimagined, on view through the end of the month, featuring the work of four artists in residence from this past year. The photographs adorn their building’s exterior. According to the description, “the artists probe, transpose and re-present public record, private memory, the documented and the ephemeral to bring images into conversations across time and space.”

The Halide Project’s Processing 2020 show, which recently closed but is still available for viewing online, was one of the best open call shows they’ve put together so far. Their new exhibit, Convergence, which opens in early May, features four different artists using camera-less photographic processes and techniques. Within walking distance from the PPAC, the gallery is open by appointment.

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