Taji Ra’oof Nahl, Val Gay, Tuft the World and more, It’s Artblog’s Midweek News Podcast!

Taji Ra’oof Nahl, Val Gay, Tuft the World and more, It’s Artblog’s Midweek News Podcast!

Ryan and Roberta debut the Midweek News Podcast of Artblog Radio, with short, quippy commentary and highlights of upcoming events and exhibitions we’re excited about. Give a listen and come back for more! Useful news, news you need!


Roberta: Hi, welcome to Artblog Radio. It’s Roberta

Ryan: and this is Ryan, and this is the Midweek News.

Roberta: And the big news this week is, wait for it, Val Gay really does sing. For a long time, Val Gay has had her Instagram handle as Val Gay Sings. Val Gay is a singer. She’s now our new Arts and culture commissioner and in Philadelphia. We’re very excited about this this morning on her Instagram, there is a wonderful video reel of Val Gay and the entire Office of Arts Culture and the Creative Economy, singing. They’re singing that. It’s a great day and everybody’s welcome to enjoy the great day and it’s such a wonderful video that you have to go see it. I highly recommended it. Get on Instagram. If you don’t have an account, sign up for one for this alone. It is worth it. We welcome Val Gay and we’re very excited that she is our new arts commissioner. I know that’s not her title, but she’s the executive director of the Office of Arts Culture in the Creative Economy. Welcome, Val.

A black and white photo shows a close cropped image of a Black man standing sideways to the camera, with facial hair, wearing a white suit jacket, dark t-shirt and sporting futuristic wraparound sunglasses.


Taji Ra’oof Nahl, TR7. Profile pic- Photo credit: Ibrahim Morris

In the next news, one artist that we have been following on Artblog for a number of years, (there’s a podcast with him. He’s excellent.) He just received a Guggenheim fellowship and his name is Taji Nahl. Let’s hear it for Taji Ra’oof Nahl. Very deserving of this accolade, and look him up on his many platforms. He goes by TR7. You can find him that way on YouTube and other platforms. He makes music. He makes sculptural installations. He uses spoken word, totally great artist. Congratulations Taji.

Final news post I’m gonna update you with is that our friends, Tim Eads and Tiernan Alexander in West Philadelphia who run Tuft the World, they have a book. So they now have a book to teach the world how to tuft and we wish them all the success. They’re up and coming, art and craft professionals who are teaching and making the world a better place. Congratulations to them on their new book. And that’s the end of my news post for today, Ryan, over to you.

Ryan: So exciting, fun things happening on Thursday. Our friends at Science Center are opening. Futures without Guns is their opening reception. That’s five to eight this Thursday, April 18th. There’s also a gallery talk. The opening reception is at the Print Center for their latest event. That’s also the 18th. On Saturday, April 20th, our friends over at The Store are having an event that’s running from 12 noon to 10pm. That’s Artists on the verge of a Converted Loft. That looks like a lot of fun. Go see that. And then our friends at Print Philly are doing their, their latest Print Fair 2024, and that will be at the, at UArts at 10, from 10 to three, on Saturday, April 20th. So those are four big highlights that I, I am trying to fit into my schedule, and I hope you can fit those into your schedule as well.

Roberta: Those all sound really great. And before you go, I want to tell you that I went up to New York this weekend. This is very unusual and saw a couple of great things that I just want to shout out.

I went to see Walton Ford at the Morgan Library some wonderful animal and nature drawings and paintings that he has gifted to the Morgan Library. They are animals with attitude. So the MGM lion if you remember the lion, that roars at the beginning of the MGM films lying, lounging, poolside in his Bell Air home, being totally drunk out of his mind, and like a Hollywood washout. Rather amusing, funny stuff and beautifully painted.

Downtown at the Drawing Center, we saw Joan Jonas’s 300 plus drawings that she’s been doing since the sixties. Joan Jonas, video experimentation Mistress of the Arts hasn’t really shown her drawings much, but she has a drawing practice.

I highly recommend the show. There is a whole wall of fish drawings. There’s many, many owls and birds. There’s bunnies and dogs, fierce animals and sweet, and the whole thing is gorgeous and loose. Wonderful drawings.

The final thing that we saw, of course, because you have to is the Whitney Biennial and the big, high point for us when we saw it, and I saw it with Libby, who actually — Libby and I began Artblog, and the way Artblog began was with our talking about art as we went gallery going. So here we were, gallery going again, and it was wonderful. The Isaac Julian piece that is a dialogue between Albert Barnes and Alain Locke, about the black body is absolutely marvelous. It’s an installation of multiple screens. You’re surrounded by it. There’s African sculptures in plexiglass cases. The atmosphere itself is welcoming and forbidding and old and new at the same time. Feels like being inside a film noir. It’s good. Just go for that alone.There are other things too. I won’t mention them now, a couple other standouts, but that was really the va va voom of the Whitney Biennial. That’s it for me.

 Ryan: I wanted to say, last week was Philadelphia Theater Week, and I’m a theater buff, and so there’s a few things that were really good. Last week we did a, we have a review of the “Zoo Story” that came out on Artblog.

There’s a couple shows that are closing soon. Namely the “Good Person of Szechwan” is closing soon. That’s a great show. Some people that we covered before on Artblog. Bi Jean Ngo is in that, well worth  the view. And if you haven’t heard, Quintessence is doing an all-male cast of Macbeth. How does that feel to you?

Very curious on your thoughts on that one. I mean, Shakespeare had to do all male, but it’s like we don’t, we can do what we want. Is that what we want? I am curious to hear what you think. And, and if you have seen it, it’s it is a very compelling show for sure. It’s well done. It’s well cast. It’s a, strong cast, but it’s an interesting choice nonetheless. So I’d love to hear what your thoughts are on that. And our friends at Curio are opening a show that if you’re into Klezmer it’s a show to see. It’s “Old Stock,” a refugee love story that’s a curio and west.


And the Klezmer is going to be the, the thing. I’m excited to see what that turns out to be. Yeah, so those are the three theater things that I wanted to point out this week.

Roberta: Isn’t Passover coming up this week too?

Ryan: I don’t understand the dates. Yeah. Ramadan’s wrapped up Passover, Easter’s gone, and Passover’s coming up. It’s just a strange year for dates. So Yeah, it is. It’s coming up.

Roberta: And then we had the eclipse and the earthquake

Ryan: and Jupiter and Uranus are aligning, so get excited for that, for those of you who care about those things as well.

Roberta: Is that an astrology reference? It went right over my head.

Ryan: It did. Yeah. There’s a, there’s a lot of things aligning and there’s a lot of things in the air, so if you’re feeling weird this week, that might be part of the reason why. Or maybe you just stared at the eclipse too long,

Roberta: or maybe you’re just weird and feeling weird is your space.

Ryan: Well, you’re welcome to come on the radio with Artblog ’cause we’re part of your team for that one. Yeah, so there’s lots of good stuff. There’s a lot of good shows. If you, if you’re ever looking for great shows, ArtblogConnect has got a lot of great listings. If you have a great show that you want listed, ArtblogConnect, you can list them for free by yourself whenever you want. And if there’s a show that you want us to get in the news, send us a link. Reach out to us. We’d love to hear what’s going on in, in our town. Let us know what you’re doing.

Roberta: Well said. Alright. I guess that’s it for the newsfeed this week. Come back for more.

Ryan: Great. And we’ll see you next week. Thanks for tuning into Artblog Radio. I’m Ryan.

Roberta: I’m Roberta

Ryan: and we’ll see you next week. Bye-Bye bye-Bye.


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