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Philadelphia Fabric Workshop Hosts Jason Musson’s Art History “Sitcom”

The show is informed and critical of art history. The first episode is a warning story about using artistic iconography to establish religious and political power. The second episode brings prehistoric figurines to life, “Venus of Willendorf,May represent the goddess of fertility carved from limestone around 27,500 BC.

The costume used by character Willa in Jason Masson’s art history video recreates a huge pocket-sized version of Willendorf’s pocket-sized Venus, a 30,000-year-old stone sculpture. (Emma Lee / WHYY)

“What I want visitors to leave is to understand how art history is history,” said Christina Vassarro, Executive Director of The Fabric Workshop and Museum. “It’s a visual reflection of what’s really happening in the world at the time. Character Ollie says that his obsession with online notoriety and popularity actually sets a precedent in art history. I understand. ”

The show has the awkwardness of Sitcom on TV. The lines may dent and ring, and the inserted laughing track shakes the senses. This is intentional.

“The track of laughter is there to annoy those who are smart and art lovers,” Musson said. “They are so smart that I don’t want to be told when to laugh. That’s what I really enjoy, but I know that certain people with certain dispositions will be like” Oh, Philistines. ” I know. Screw them in. ”

Jason Musson is leaning on his “Pieta” chair on a stage set up for a satirical art history video. (Emma Lee / WHYY)

Masson has a history of performance in his artistic practice.He Hip-hop group Plastic Little (“Technically I’m still in the band. I haven’t played the show for years, but it still exists.”) And in 2010 “ART THOUGHTZ”, a series of talking head YouTube videos He played a character named Hennessy Youngman who criticized the world of art.

Masson said he gave up performance after ART THOUGHTZ and instead preferred to work without paying attention to himself. He temporarily moved to New York and returned to Philadelphia a few years ago. In 2014, one of his abstract paintings was acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “Try to find our spot in that light and turn off the light at that spot.. ”

As “his history” evolved in the process of artist-in-residence, he was pulled back to playing the character. What he said began as an early concept for revisiting Hennessy Youngman “on a budget” and eventually evolved into another character, another concept, and a fully realized visual world. did.

The Fabric Workshop and Museum’s Jason Musson: His Art History explores the creative process behind the creation of Musson’s satirical art history video. (Emma Lee / WHYY)

One of the founding programs of The Fabric Workshop and Museum is Artist Residency. Artists are invited to test the expertise of the organization’s manufacturing equipment and staff to devise and create new ones.

Residency aims to encourage artists to take risks and evolve their work in unexpected directions. Vassallo calls it the “FWM Moment”.

“We know that when artists experiment and collaborate with us, they will see their work in a fresh light from a new perspective and leave,” she said. “We want to track how that new perspective evolves over time. That’s the moment of FWM. The experiments they conducted with us are of their careers. Where will it appear in the second half? ”

Bison poses to relax for a caveman artist in Jason Musson’s satirical art history series. The videos are on display at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, along with the costumes, dolls and props used to make them. (Emma Lee / WHYY)

The three episodes of “History” are the main part of the Fabric Workshop exhibition, and the shooting set is also on display. The Animatronic Ollie doll sits on a lattice sofa, activated by a “smart” sensory trigger that can detect the number of visitors to the room and their movements. He is programmed to turn his head and watch people pass by, and occasionally provides sneaky comments.

Behind the set is another gallery showing the process by which the Fabric Workshop produced the various items of the show.

“Jason Musson: His Art History” will be on display at The Fabric Workshop and Museum until November 13th.

Philadelphia Fabric Workshop Hosts Jason Musson’s Art History “Sitcom”

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