The Leonard Pearlstein Gallery of Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, will open Lastgaspism: Art and Survival in the Age of Pandemic on Thursday, March 31 – with a reception and book launch from 5-7 p.m.
Lastgaspism: Art and Survival in the Age of Pandemic, is a collection of interviews, critical essays, and artist portfolios that considers matters of life and death having to do with breath, both allegorical and literal. The book inspired an exhibition of artistic work that addresses the interlocked crises of the unfolding present: police murders that gave rise to the “I can’t breathe” slogan in the movement for racial justice, the throngs of challenges experienced during the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and several other pressing matters befalling humanity.
The exhibition will run from Thursday, March 31 through Wednesday, May 25. Operating hours are Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Saturday 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. in the URBN Annex (3401 Filbert St.).
Exhibiting artists consider the climate and social emergencies that afflict U.S. society and look for available peace in our new age of perpetual biopolitical chaos. For these artists, the ‘last gasps’ of a dying order starkly expose the either/or that stands before us: either we breathe, or we die. In photography, video, printmaking, and other media, the artists grapple with the white nationalist streaks fueled by fear of demographic suffocation, police brutality and racism in America.
The book brings into mutual proximity the ecological, political, public health, and spiritual crises of our time, it considers the compounding nature of these events and their impact upon one another. Lastgaspism: Art and Survival in the Age of Pandemic, the exhibition means to highlight a host of pressing subjects both critically and with compassion, to help its audience make sense of the world’s seemingly near-permanent chaos.
The Drexel meditation club will host regular mindfulness meetups at the gallery. In addition, the gallery will serve as a venue for the performing arts ensemble series "Rehearsing Philadelphia," a citywide art-based public project created by Berlin-based composer and artist, Ari Benjamin Meyers, and jointly produced and presented by The Westphal College of Media Arts & Design and The Curtis Institute of Music, in early April.