Two Timing by Matt Kalasky
It is not too often that a review ends with asking where the bathroom is, but that is Matt Kalasky for you.
Reviewing the whole second floor of the Rollin’s Buiding, Kalasky of the Nicola Midnight St. Claire is not too pleased with what he calls “a scene that has become totemic of the Philadelphia art experience.” He has expectations that many of the galleries are not meeting.
First up for disgust-tion was NAPOLEON and we did not fair so well. While Kalasky was “also pleased to meet” us, he ultimately charged us with playing it too safe.
JUST A WORD OF ADVICE: HANGING OUT ISN’T ENOUGH. TAKE SOME CHANCES—INCITE A RIOT—MAKE US REMEMBER. IT WILL BE BETTER FOR EVERYONE IF YOU DO. I SAY IT ALL THE TIME BUT IT IS SO TRUE: IF YOU WANT TO BE A PARTY ANIMAL YOU HAVE TO LEARN TO LIVE IN THE JUNGLE.
No. The capitalization was his own. I have not broken my capslock button. I think he wanted to make sure we got the message. We did. In fairness to our new members, I don’t think this review was really about the show on view, but rather the gallery itself.
To me, figuring out what NAPOLEON is and will be is an evolving process. Through that process, we have generally taken a slow, steady approach. We give our individual members a generous amount of autonomy when it is their show (as our model demands) and we are experimenting and figuring out what we want to do (and be) as a group. But I don’t think any of us have ever said firmly whether or not riots are part of our mission statement.
What we have been saying is that we want NAPOLEON to be a place and group that provides a platform for new work and new ideas.
I think we have done that. They’re not always going to be the ideas and preferences of our critics, but they are our own. Our moms may describe us as quirky oddballs, but we’re not really rioters. We’re lovers, not fighters. And I can’t say that I wish we were anything else.