March 12, 2014, 6:30PM

The Philadelphia/Chicago Connection / The Spirit of the Comics (1969)

The Philadelphia/Chicago Connection panel discussion at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania. Photo: William Hidalgo.

Local luminaries discussed the influence of Chicago Imagism on the Philadelphia scene in a conversation moderated by ICA Assistant Curator Kate Kraczon. Joseph Rishel (Philadelphia Museum of Art) sketched large themes about the crucial role of Chicago collectors, teachers, and gallerists in making important surrealist work accessible to local artists. John Ollman (Fleisher/Ollman Gallery) highlighted the importance of ICA’s 1969 exhibition, The Spirit of Comics, which included work by many Chicago Imagists—Barbara Rossi, Christina Ramberg, Jim Nutt, Ray Yoshida, and others—for Philadelphia artists. Robert Cozzolino (Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts) spoke of the importance of exhibiting and collecting regional art—of showing various regionalisms to their best advantage as a way of pushing back against a New York-centered art history. Other topics included an influential 1983 article by Sid Sachs (University of the Arts)—who was in the audience—on whether there was such a thing as a Philadelphia Imagist tradition; a College Art Association conference chaired by curator Judith Stein (also in the audience); the number of artists who taught and lived in both Chicago and Philadelphia (particularly Ree Morton and Rafael Ferrer); and the equal representation of men and women among the Chicago Imagists. Many artists were in the audience for this oral history lesson presented as part of the 50th anniversary show ICA@50, including Billy Dufala whose ICA@50 micro-exhibition RAIR: Simon Kim and Billy Dufala / Made in Philadelphia (1973) opened in the gallery earlier that day along with Robert Morris: Tracks / Robert Morris/Projects (1974) and Videoarte Brasil / Video Art (1975).

The Philadelphia/Chicago Connection panel discussion at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania. Photo: William Hidalgo.ICA@50: Philadelphia/Chicago Connection program card (back)ICA@50: Philadelphia/Chicago Connection program card (front)The Spirit of the ComicsICA@50: Pleasing Artists And Publics Since 1963ICA@50

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