For a couple of days earlier in the week, the artist Anthony Campuzano trekked in and out ICA carrying stuff: chairs, computers, art supplies, drawings, photographs, tacks, snacks. Campuzano—TC to friends—is known for using found language in his drawings, taking text from newspaper headlines, Wikipedia entries, the covers of paperback novels, song lyrics, etc. And as of yesterday, July 1, he has moved into ICA’s second-floor gallery for a month. He’s not exactly an exhibition, but any day the museum is open you can stop by and say hello and watch him making art.
There’s lots of other stuff going on too. TC asked friends and mentors (Anissa Mack, Kate Abercrombie, and others) to lend artwork to pin up on the walls. In the evenings and on weekends he’s offering free classes based on lessons that were important to him as he emerged as an artist. These lessons have great names like “Kite Technique Drawing Class” and “Sculpture Scavenger Hunt.” One, I’m told, involves cooking eggs. There are also video screenings, Friday night reading and discussion groups, workshops for artists on useful topics like writing artist statements, a day geared toward families and children, and probably lots of unscheduled activity and delight.
Last night there was music. Megajam Booze Band played on ICA’s terrace as we celebrated the opening of the Summer Studio project with cooler blues, beer, popcorn, and watermelon. There must have been close to two hundred people there: a woman in a short yellow silk beaded dress, a man in a Jerry Garcia T-shirt and a red ponytail, a woman with a kite tattoo on her arm (will she be at the Kite Technique Drawing Class, I wonder, or maybe she’s already taken it?). There was a man with a jaunty devil tattoo on his leg, a little girl in a pink sweater, a tall woman wearing purple sparkly shoes, and a taller woman in an Edwardian wedding dress and tall black boots: that was Kate Kraczon, the ICA curator who made this project happen.
One guy sported a “Campuzano Construction” T-shirt. He turned out to be TC’s dad, Anthony Campuzano, Sr.
I talked with TC in his new summer digs while the band set up. I asked him if he liked the size of room and he said yes, but that the best thing was—in contrast to his tiny Kensington studio—the absence of mice. Also, the air conditioning.
Campuzano had an exhibition at his gallery, Fleisher Ollman, just last month, and usually in the wake of a show he might let himself relax, but he said he was excited to be getting right back to work. He seemed excited. He told me about the art he’d borrowed to hang for the month, and the reproduction Rachel Harrison piece pinned up in the corner near his kindergarten diploma from St. Philomena’s in Landsdowne. He showed me the drawings he does to relax his hand, blue pencil copies of a postcard of Juan Gris’s “Portrait of Max Jacob” that one of his teachers, Elena Sistos, gave him. (Another version of these drawings by Campuzano was recently acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.) “I like copying things,” he said. “Well, not copying—riffing off them.”
There was a lot of energy and excitement at ICA last night. When I left, the band was still playing and the beer was flowing and people were talking about which classes they wanted to sign up for. To see the whole calendar of events click here. They’re all free and open to the public, artists and non-artists alike. Or just stop by and chat with TC and watch him work. When will you have another opportunity to see what an artist actually does all day?
I’ll be there. I can’t wait to find out.