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We, Object (a quarrel in ragtime)
Alternative Currencies
October 2nd - November 1st, 2015


We, Object (a quarrel in ragtime) curated for The Luminary by US English

What is an institution as an exhibition: a survey of objects, props and acts? As an institution that proposes art’s social relevance to the pressing issues of our time, when time comes to us, we wonder – what is an art of its time? What is a voice of the people? Which people and where? The institution must become a time, or contain a quarrel within time, a staccato rhythm in history with legacies and futures we don’t yet understand.

The exhibition responds to a singular moment: in December, 2014, in the midst of protests around the non-indictment of Darren Wilson in neighboring Ferguson, MO, the gallery was asked to host the St. Louis city counselor’s holiday party in which the chief of police, mayor’s staff, city judges and more were to be in attendance. The day prior to the party, the gallery’s directors (known collectively as US English) were named plaintiffs against the city in a federal case arising from the illegal use of tear gas against its citizens. The city was found guilty.

Every person in attendance at the party who was identified with The Luminary – founders, staff, volunteers, bartenders – had each participated in the protests in the preceding months. Yet, that night, we were asked to accommodate a different kind of gathering, containing a conflicted space among multiple publics. Featuring texts, objects, and artists considering the multiple intersections of the institution within current social movements, We, Object (a quarrel in ragtime) aims to extend this space of hospitality and protest as a form of institutional self-reflection.


During October, Vox Populi was pleased to host four alternative arts organizations: Threewalls (Chicago), Possible Press (Atlanta), The Luminary (St. Louis), and KCHUNG (Los Angeles). Vox Populi dedicated its entire exhibition space to the work of these four organizations in October as part of the Philadelphia-wide project Alternative Currencies, which gathered independent contemporary arts groups from around the country to share their innovative modes of working. Across the city, Grizzly Grizzly presented INCA (Detroit/Seattle), Mount Airy Contemporary presented The Suburban (Oak Park/Milwaukee), Rebekah Templeton presented PLUG Projects (Kansas City), and Traction Company presented Galería Perdida (Brooklyn/Chilchota, Mexico).

Alternative Currencies was conceived by Grizzly Grizzly Gallery in partnership with The Galleries at Moore College of Art & Design for the exhibition Strange Currencies: Art & Action in Mexico City, 1990-2000, previously on view at The Galleries September 19 – December 12, 2015 and was presented in collaboration with Vox Populi, Mount Airy Contemporary, Rebekah Templeton, Traction Company.

Major support for Strange Currencies: Art & Action in Mexico City, 1990-2000 at the Galleries at Moore has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Major support for Alternative Currencies was provided by Grizzly Grizzly Gallery, Mount Airy Contemporary, Rebekah Templeton, Traction Company, Vox Populi, INCA, KCHUNG, Threewalls, The Luminary, Possible Press, The Suburban, Plug Projects, Galería Perdida – via their organizational members and generous supporters.