Direct democracy and artistic dialogue at Grizzly Grizzly

Published on 15 November 2011 by  in Philadelphia

The inaugural call for entries at Grizzly Grizzly is entitled “Other Possible Titles” and runs from Nov. 4 until Nov. 26. The show consists of 35 pieces selected from nearly 250 submissions that were chosen by a jury composed of members of the Grizzly Grizzly collective. As an exhibition, the show is meant to demonstrate a wide variety of mediums, artists, locations and concepts. Ultimately, there is a wide range of artistic strength present in “Other Possible Titles” and a wry name on top of that.
Grizzly Grizzly SoutheastSoutheast corner of gallery featuring: Benjamin Farnack, Christina Day, Samantha Mitchell and Peter Morgan. Photo courtesy the gallery’s website

It is Grizzly Grizzly’s largest event to date, utilizing the entire gallery space and even part of the hallway outside just for good measure. The focus of the show is certainly on the diversity of work, but this is only a circumstance of the extensive submissions. Specifically, the exhibit is also concerned with the intelligence inherent in contemporary art and the way in which artists utilize their materials. There is also a certain degree of playfulness and humor, which is telling of a great deal of DIY work in and around Philadelphia. Take, for example, Peter Morgan’s basket of ceramic nachos with cheese and you get the idea. Work in this show, however, comes from not only Philly but places like nearby New York and even as far away as Los Angeles and Ireland.

Grizzly Grizzly West WallInstallation view west wall featuring: Eimearjean McCormack, Caitlin Lennon, Amy Sacksteder, Micheal Ohgren and Liz Davenport. Photo courtesy the gallery’s website

Within the walls of the gallery (and a little bit outside them) there are all manner of art forms to whet your appetite: installation, photography, video, sculpture and painting. Through the presentation of this diverse grouping of artists and artistry, Grizzly Grizzly hopes to extend the dialogue outside of their peers and the collective itself in order to open new channels of audience engagement and risk-taking. The Grizzlies have one main way to open up an extra means of artistic dialogue, and that is by putting the show to vote. Throughout the duration of the exhibition, Grizzly Grizzly encourages visitors to vote on their favorite work. Whichever artist receives the most votes will be awarded a solo exhibition in the 2012 gallery season.

Grizzly member and exhibition programmer Jacque Liu explains that, “Our gallery is a meeting-ground for dialogue. We know that our viewers see vast amounts of art — by giving them the ability to determine a future show, we hope to leverage their knowledge, experience and passion to help us define our audience and, in turn, create a deeper and more meaningful relationship to the work.”

Grizzly Grizzly VoteList of artists in “Other Possible Titles” via the Grizzly Grizzly website.

With occupiers on Wall Street and around the country pushing for direct democracy and creativity peaking in a wave of contemporary artists, an audience-voted exhibition makes perfect sense at this moment in history. Come visit “Other Possible Titles” to enjoy the art, but also to participate in the curatorial process. After all, art is for everyone.

Grizzly Grizzly is located at 319 N. 11th St. on the second floor;


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