The elusive stikman is showing his artwork indoors right now at the offices of the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. …in the house… is open now through November 13th, but there’s an evening reception this Friday evening from 6-8pm. Before that reception, I’ll also be giving a brief talk about the history of street art in Philadelphia and internationally. The reception on the 18th should be a blast, especially since we’ll be releasing a stikman sticker that will be available for free to anyone who stops by (the sticker will also be available if you come see the show after the 18th). This is also a great time to buy a piece of stikman’s original artwork since all of the work for sale at “…in the house…” is being sold to benefit Mural Arts.
Technically, I’m considered the curator of …in the house…, but I would say it’s more accurate to say I helped coordinate the show since I thought it would be more productive to give stikman as much free reign as possible. One of the things that makes …in the house… so interesting to me beyond it being a show by a great artist who doesn’t display his work indoors all that often is that it is being held at the Mural Art Program’s offices, which also happen to be the former home of artist Thomas Eakins. I interned with Mural Arts over the summer, and it’s a fascinating organization. If you’ve ever seen a mural in Philadlephia, chances are they were behind it. For this show, stikman has on drawn the history of the Mural Arts Program and the building in which it is based to create new work dealing with alternative forms of community engagement and the art of Thomas Eakins.
Mural Arts and stikman both want engage communities through public art, but they go about it in very different ways. Mural Arts shakes hands, holds meetings and encourages people to help paint murals, all with spectacular results that change the Philadelphia landscape. stikman goes for walks and installs his artwork where he pleases, each piece a temporary gift to the people who look closely enough, lasting only as long as nature and graffiti removal specialists will allow. Both stikman and Mural Arts are active in place-making. Mural Arts gives Philadelphia communal places, while stikman lets individuals discover small private, even secret, places in the midst of the urban jungle and make them their own. Mural Arts’ large-scale works of public art coexist in Philadelphia alongside stikman’s comparatively miniscule sculptures, stickers, tiles and installations, but if you look closely enough, they aren’t so different.
“…in the house…” is open now at the Mural Arts Program’s headquarters at 1727-29 Mt. Vernon Street in Philadelphia. It runs through November 13th, and while the show is in an office, it is open to the public and anyone can visit during Mural Arts’ normal business hours (9-5, Monday-Friday) or by appointment by emailing events at muralarts . org.
Photos by Steve Weinik, stikman and Damon Landry