Taste, Sip and Dance the Night Away at the Best of Delaware Party at Dover Downs

Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts’ From Joy to Terror exhibit, Old Crow Medicine Show plays The Grand, and more.

Jordan Kasey, Smile, 2012 - Oil on Canvas

“Collectively, the exhibition can be understood as a symbol for the political act of imagining and creative nonsense as a means of social engagement and critique.” So says Maiza Hixson, curator of the group exhibition “From Joy to Terror,” which is showing at the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington until Oct. 2. With artists presenting everything from cartoons and quilts to fashion shoots and time travel, the show contextualizes the DCCA as a site for a wide-ranging view of contemporary art and culture. “Displaying bold and idiosyncratic artistic vision, their work champions subjectivity and absurdity in the form of fiction, storytelling, dreaming, and interactive play as a means of surviving the emotional, physical, and environmental challenges affecting the world today,” Hixson says. “From Joy to Terror” presents artists who entertain the creative potential of fantasy, pleasure and nonsense to negotiate the greater absurdities of real life. Andrew, Hannah Brancato, Emily Campbell, Jonathan Duff, Jordan Kasey, Vincent Valerio, and Baltimore’s Make Studio artists Kareem Samuels, Tony Labate, and Gary Schmedes craft objects and experiences that suggest playful, poetic, and satirical survival strategies for present-day social ills. Here’s more about the artists, from the DCCA:

Benjamin Andrew (Baltimore) introduces “Chronoecology Corps” as a kunstwerk or a total work of art into the gallery. Encompassing nearly every creative medium, the project is also a living comic book based on the premise that in the future nature is obsolete and the artist is a time traveling scientist who must return to the past to archive people’s experiences of the environment. Through deadpan humor, Andrew evokes humanity’s timeless nostalgia for nature and the threat of ecological destruction.

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Equally ironic and whimsical, Nathan Gorgen’s (Columbus, Oh) “Luxury Accommodations” features a portable bathroom in the gallery that follows in the Duchamp-ian readymade tradition. Aside from his gleeful homage to the commercial art of faux finishing in a seemingly sacred space of fine art, the artist creates a cultural monument out of a human waste container.

Drawing similar inspiration from mundane objects and America’’ material, consumer culture as disposable waste, artist Jonathan Duff‘s (Richmond, Va.) photographic work references catalogs of home décor and furniture companies. The artist finds that the “ultra clean and organized scenes in these catalogs are begging to be soiled.” His two-dimensional abstract paintings combine garish and outdated colors with geometric shapes that enthusiastically embody the definition of generic composition, reminding one of bad 1980s graphic design and corporate lobby art.

While Duff delights in defiling lifeless interiors in abstracted two-dimensional images, painter Jordan Kasey (Baltimore) enjoys “arranging organic forms into images that feel monumental and confrontational.” Kasey’s large canvases include surreal-looking portraits of richly colored rocks and among others the shell of human heads bursting with coral, sea anemone and starfish imagery. She states that her works are “more about eliciting an emotional response from the viewer than conveying any specific intellectual or political message.”

The surface of things equally preoccupies artist and fashion designer Vincent Valerio (Baltimore). Branding his own clothing line Vincenzo Couture, the artist creates wildly wearable sculpture that references the history of American pop culture and TV shows such as Pee Wee Herman’s Playhouse and “Leave it to Beaver.”

Looking at the meaning of fabric and textiles in contemporary artistic practice and involving the visitor in the making of the artwork, artist Hannah Brancato (Baltimore) both sews quilts and works in a variety of new media, including sound and video. She states that her work “is designed to point out contradictions and injustices, often through storytelling.”

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A similar sense of storytelling pervades the work of Emily Campbell (Baltimore), whose two-dimensional drawings visualize utopian scenes and theatrical settings, invented histories, and fictional character. All made with pen on board, from a distance each black and white drawing appears nondescript. However, upon closer inspection, a host of erotic and fantastic imagery comes into view.

Like Campbell, Baltimore’s Make Studio artists Gary Schmedes , Kareem Samuels and Tony Labate (all of Baltimore) are equally influenced by fantasy and pop culture. Make Studio’s mission is to provide multimodal visual arts programming, including sales & exhibition opportunities, to adults with disabilities in a supportive and inclusive environment. To learn more, go see the show. 656-6466, thedcca.org/exhibit/joy-terror

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July 25  
Best of Delaware

Hit the state’s biggest shindig. Delaware Today’s Best of Delaware Party is tonight at Dover Downs. Come sample food from the finest restaurants and enjoy great live music. It’s the bash no one wants to miss.… More 

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Winterthur’s Farmstand is the place to stop on Thursdays for delicious, locally grown produce from H.G. Haskell’s SIW Vegetables and more… More

July 25-27

Those fun-loving Brandywiners perform the classic  Annie Get Your Gun at Longwood Gardens… More

July 27

One of the East Coast’s premier races, the Howard M. Smith Diamond State Masters Regatta is a two-day event on Noxontown Pond at St. Andrew’s School in Middletown… More


If you’ve ever wondered what the Delaware Breakwater East End Lighthouse looks like, see it up close during a special lighthouse tour More


If you haven’t figured out why Old Crow Medicine Show has been winning over audiences for 15 years with folk rags and blues with a rock persona, get to The Grand… More


The People’s Festival of music and culture at Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park has been paying tribute to former Delawarean Bob Marley since 1995. It’s irie, mon More    

July 27-28

Explore and shop thousands of unique, handcrafted works by nearly 200 fine craftspeople at the Pennsylvania Guild Fine Craft Fair on the Wilmington Riverfront… More


Explore the history of the celebrated HMS DeBraak shipwreck and see the hull during a special program in Lewes and Cape Henlopen State Park More



How far does a raindrop fall? If you’ve ever wondered about such matters, find your answers at Water’s Extreme Journey at the Delaware Museum of Natural History… More

July 28

Hide your valuables! Black Bart and his gang seize the Wilmington & Western Railroad for an old-fashioned Wild West RobberyMore

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