Setting the Stage for Warhol and the Philadelphia Exploding Plastic Inevitable Event in 1966
Wednesday, April 27, 2022, 5:30-7:00pm
Independent curator and Project Director Cheryl Harper will provide a short recap on the origins of the YMWHA Arts Council; the Council’s role in promoting Pop Art and the wider repercussions of the Council’s support for avant-garde art. She will discuss Warhol’s interactions at the Gershman Y during the 1960s. To conclude Cheryl Harper will also discuss her 2016 exhibition entitled "Underground Nights: When Warhol’s Exploding Plastic inevitable Met the Y” and the origins of this historic event. Her 2017 exhibition was inspired by the recently discovered photographs taken by Philadelphia photographer Sam Moskovitz who was on hand during the 1966 Gershman show. Exhibition curator Cheryl Harper has noted that the 1966 performance was a confrontation between the “black-clad Velvets” and “staid Philadelphia” performing their “songs about heroin and S&M,” not to mention Lou Reed’s other subversive proclivities.
This program will be presented via Zoom.
Register to get the Zoom link.
Cheryl Harper has curated over 90 exhibitions ranging from regional to international projects as both a staff and independent curator. Harper’s dual training and occupations as both art historian and artist allows for visually powerful presentations in both sectors.
Her Warhol projects include Underground Nights: When Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Underground Met the Y at the Gershman Y in Philadelphia in 2017, revisiting the night of an outrageous performance in 1967. In the spring of 2003, Harper directed and curated the exhibition, A Happening Place, funded by the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, a grant program administered by The Pew Charitable Trusts. This project documented groundbreaking exhibitions at YMWHA (later the Gershman Y) in the 1960s that included arguably the first Pop Art show in the United States in 1962. Participating artists included Andy Warhol; Christo Javacheff; Kaprow; James Rosenquist; Stephen Antonakos; Geoffrey Hendricks; Wayne Thiebaud as well as works by many other period artists today represented in major collections around the world. Her book, “A Happening Place,” a catalog related to the show of the same title, is in art libraries around the world and places the early Pop Art activities in Philadelphia in context. Her most recent contemporary curatorial activity was Seamless: Craft-based Objects and Performance Practices in 2020 at Rutgers University-Camden.
Harper holds a MA in Art History from Temple University, a MFA in printmaking from the University of Delaware as well as a BA from Drew University and a BFA from Tyler School of Art. An exhibition of Harper’s art installation with rod jones iii, What We Are Claiming, runs April 23-June 4 at the Crane Art Building’s In Liquid Gallery in Philadelphia.