flying slippers blog

On the Walls: Preserving EKG’s Art at the Science Center

December 14, 2017

For 40 years, the Esther Klein Gallery (EKG) at the Science Center has been a unique resource in our community, encouraging the overlap of art, science and technology through exhibitions, artist talks, panel discussions, performances and special events. The gallery’s mission came to fruition in 1976, when former Science Center President Randall M. Whaley advocated for better communication between artists and scientists, developing a program that, to his knowledge, was the first of its kind.

 

Throughout the years, pieces of artwork from shows held at EKG have found a permanent home on the walls of the Science Center’s corporate offices, and in buildings around uCity Square. Below is a collection of a few of our favorite pieces:

 

1. 

Artist: AJ Bocchino

Show: Given Enough Eyeballs, March 2008

Art: The New York Times Headlines (1976-1985) and (1986-1995)

The New York Times Headlines, which now hangs in the Science Center’s corporate offices at 3711 Market Street, was described by Downtown Express in 2003:

 

Over a period of ten years, Bocchino collected headlines from the Times and color-coded them based on subject matter, creating a wall-sized collage of topics from “Elections”, in yellow, to “Poverty”, a purple. A second, smaller mural, separated into shades of red and orange, covered headlines related to the post-9/11 rebuilding of lower Manhattan. Bocchino then removed the words and isolated the colors on individual sheets of paper to show the attention paid to certain topics over time. The result was a sort of Times timeline.

 

“I started this project and began to find patterns in the headlines,” Bocchino said. “I wasn’t trying to make any kind of statement of my own regarding the media. I want the art to speak for itself and provide its own interpretations.”

 

Read the entire Downtown Express article.

 

2.

Artist: R. Buckminster Fuller

Show: Name Unknown, 1981

Art: Dymaxion Map

A World Fellow in Residence at the Science Center, R. Buckminster Fuller’s Dymaxion Map “is the only flat map of the entire surface of the Earth which reveals our planet as one island in one ocean, without any visually obvious distortion of the relative shapes and sizes of the land areas, and without splitting any continents,” the Buckminster Fuller Institute tells us. The 1981 EKG show included the Dymaxion Map, Fuller’s early drawings, 4D and dymaxion ideas and his latest invention, the dymaxion bookcase. The Dymaxion Map, which is signed by Fuller, is on display in his namesake conference room at 3711 Market Street. Learn more about Fuller’s work here.

 

3. 

Artist: Alex Dragulescu

Show: Selected Works of Alex Dragulescu March 13 - May 2, 2009

Art: Spam Architecture

Alex Dragulescu is a Romanian visual artist whose practice focuses on the experimentation and exploration of algorithms, computational models, simulations and information visualizations that involve data derived from databases, spam emails, blogs and video game assets. His show at EKG featured images from the Spam Architecture series, which showed photographic representations of spam along with some of his other pieces. The above prints are now on display at 3711 Market. Learn more about Dragulescu’s work here.

 

4. 

Artist: Fernando Orellana

Show: Arts Bots April 13 - June 30, 2007

Art: Drawing Machine 3.1415926 v. 2

Fernando Orellana used a drawing machine to generate Drawing Machine 3.1415926 v. 2, pictured above, which is also on display in the reception area of 3711 Market. According to his website:

 

“Drawing Machine 3.1415926 v. 2 explores the notion of generative art or art that makes art on its own. The piece consists of a three tiered mobile sculpture that is driven by the vibration of a motor. This vibration is controlled in two ways. First by the machines programming, essentially a set of instructions on how to draw. Secondly by monitoring one or two microphones, giving it the ability to “listen” to its environment. When it hears something loud enough it uses that information directly to create marks. In this way the machine collaborates with its environment; sometimes using its program and sometimes using what it hears to make drawings.

 

Over the years the machine has been installed in several locations and configured in different ways. Some drawings are reflective of music played to it (for example the music of Charlie Parker), while others are the voices of children and adults that visited it while it was installed at The Ark: A Cultural Center for Children in Dublin, Ireland. Each drawing takes several hours to make, in some cases over three-hundred.”

Learn more about Fernando Orellana here.

(Photos courtesy of http://fernandoorellana.com/projects/drawing-machine-v2/)

 

5.

Artist: Aleksandra Kasuba

Show: Featured at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science during a residency in 1976-1978.

Art: Tensile Shells and Tubular Structures    

Aleksandra Kasuba’s residency at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science was one of the first programs initiated by EKG’s founding curator Libby Newman. Current EKG curator Angela McQuillan celebrated Kasuba’s work, and the work of several past artists, at the gallery’s 40th anniversary celebration in December 2016. Kasuba’s work is now on display in the reception area of 3701 Market Street. According to the 1978 Art in Science report:

 

“During my residency at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science I have attempted to use tension as the force that gives shape to fabric structures. In the course of experimentation 78 structures were fabricated, 26 of which were preserved by hardening the fabric.

 

The shells were made of stretch fabric which was cut into sections that were sewn together in a number of ways. The soft structure was stretched in a frame and in stretching acquired its volumetric expansion. Resin was then applied to the fabric to make it rigid and self-supporting.

 

In these structures the skeleton and the surface are one-- both are born at the same time, under the influence of one force. The dynamics of tension originates with the stretching of the fabric; the stresses flow according to the arrangement of fabric segments; while the seams are agents that transmit and re-direct the flow of tension to other parts of the structure.”

 

Learn more about Kasuba here
(Photos courtesy of http://www.kasubaworks.com/art-in-science-i--vii.html

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