October 20, 2009


Sherrie Nickol


Sept. 3 — Dec. 18, 2009
CHAT Gallery
10th floor of Gladfelter Hall
M-F, 10 am — 4 pm

Sherrie Nickol searches for the interconnection between groups of people and their surroundings. The emotional interaction among the subjects that populate these places is central to this body of work. Nickol’s insightful photographs lead her viewers to a larger understanding of the meaning of ‘crowds.’

The Secret Life of Plants

October 20, 2009

CHAT distinguished faculty lectures

Oliver Gaycken, English

Thus., October 22

12:30-1:50 p.m.
CHAT Lounge, 10th Floor, Gladfelter Hall

The understanding of plant life was changing at the end of the nineteenth century, transforming from an Aristotelian conception that separated plants from animals absolutely to a more Darwinian conception where the

Oliver Gaycken

Oliver Gaycken

boundary between the animal and vegetable kingdoms was less definite. Probably no other visual medium supported this transformation more powerfully than time-lapse cinema. Film’s ability to compress time and thereby visualize plant movement created moving images that became touchstones for both avant-garde movements, especially Surrealism, as well as for a variety of other audiences, ranging from the first time-lapse plant film made for a non-scientific audience, Percy Smith’s The Birth of a Flower (1910), to the psychobotanical documentary The Secret Life of Plants (1978). This talk will present an overview of this intriguing cinematic sub-genre that hovers somewhere between science, art, and magic.

Wolgin Prize Finalist Sanford Biggers selected films to be screened in conjunction with his Temple Gallery exhibition.  This week’s film is:

Elevator to the Gallows (Ascenseur Pour L’echafaud), 1957 (92 minutes)
Wednesday, October 14, 7pm

Tyler School of Art, 12th and Norris Streets, Lower Level, B004
Cohosted by STOOP, Tyler School of Art

Louis Malle’s Elevator to the Gallows is a “film noir” suspense thriller set to a Miles Davis soundtrack. A man who has fallen in love with his boss’ wife plans a murder to look like suicide so he can be with his love, but nothing goes as planned.

What are we drinking and what does it say about who we are?

That’s the question Temple historian Bryant Simon contemplated one day five years ago while sitting in a Starbucks. And it’s one he addresses in his new book, Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks (University of California Press, October 2009).

But, Everything but the Coffee is not just about Starbucks. It’s about what Starbucks’ success and recent downturn says about America, Americans and our search for meaning, community, justice and relevance in the 21st century.

photo courtesy of Kelly & Massa Photography

photo courtesy of Kelly & Massa Photography

For the book, Simon visited and revisited more than 400 Starbucks in ten countries — purposely dropping in on the same stores at different times of the day and positioning himself differently each time, at a table or near the counter. He invited linguists, branders, colorologists and teenagers to join him and “tell him what they saw” and once even surreptitiously ran off with a bag of Starbucks’ trash.

What he learned was that at its peak Starbucks thrived by giving Americans what they thought they wanted, which wasn’t coffee. It was predictability, class standing, a sense of community, more natural and authentic products, and a sense of themselves as caring and more benevolent individuals.

“You rent out space for work or a meeting or pay for a chair for twenty minutes of relaxation, or maybe you use it as a place to show off your good taste. Go to this place with art on the walls and jazz flowing out the speakers and you become sophisticated, arty, eco-friendly and cosmopolitan.  But this isn’t necessarily who you are; this is an image you pay a premium to display,” said Simon. 

According to Simon, Starbucks’ skyrocketing success demonstrates how deeply consumption has steeped into our lives—how much energy, emotion and time we invest in what we buy as a representation of who we are.

“As our sense of association and communalism has rolled back, buying has seeped into more and more aspects of daily life,” said Simon. “Starbucks used that retreat in public life to sell us what we want.”

Bryant Simon is Professor of History and Director of American Studies in the College of Liberal Arts, and author of Boardwalk of Dreams:  Atlantic City and the Fate of Urban America.


"Re'Search Wait'S (Edit 1: Missing Re'Search Corruption Budget)" by Ryan Trecartin (2009) (courtesy of Courtesy of Ryan Trecartin and Elizabeth Dee)

When: Wednesday Oct. 7, 5:30 p.m.

Where: Paley Library Lecture Hall

Ryan Trecartin’s work advances understandings of post‐millennial technology, narrative and identity. Discussed from a variety of perspectives, panelists will examine issues of social media and networks; gender and aesthetic themes in video art; and more.

This event is part of a series of collaborative public programs presented in conjunction with the Tyler School of Art’s Jack Wolgin International Competition in the Fine Arts


About Finalist Ryan Trecartin

Ryan Trecartin (b. 1981, Webster, TX) lives and works in Philadelphia, PA, where he structures his art practice in varying collaborative ways. Trecartin has established a singular video practice that, in both form and in function, advances understandings of post-millennial technology, narrative and identity, and also propels these matters as expressive mediums. His work depicts worlds where consumer culture is amplified and absorbed to absurd or nihilistic proportions where characters circuitously strive to find agency and meaning in their lives. The combination of assaultive, nearly impenetrable avant-garde logics and equally outlandish, virtuoso uses of color, form, drama and montage produces a sublime, stream-of-consciousness effect that feels bewilderingly true to life. In addition to his work in video, Trecartin also has a collaborative sculpture practice with artist Lizzie Fitch. Trecartin’s work has been included in several major exhibitions and institutions worldwide, including the 2006 Whitney Biennial, New York; the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Saatchi Gallery, London; and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

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 Peter Final


Peter Reynold’s interpretation of Neil Simon’s Sweet Charity now on stage at Tomlinson Theater

It’s opening night of Temple Theater’s production of Sweet Charity, and the Tomlinson Theater backstage area is awash in nervous energy. The stage manager is busy checking final details, and the dressing rooms are crowded with actors and actresses putting the finishing touches on make-up and costumes. Dressed in all black, assistant professor Peter Reynolds makes his way around the theater, taking one last check before curtain.

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