Benefit 2020 Auction Items: Jennifer Johnson’s ‘Crane 1905’

     You can’t help but notice it as you walk around the Fishtown neighborhood. It’s obvious in the clamor of construction vehicles, the multitude of hip restaurants and shops, the new garage and deck endowed four-story homes, the onslaught of young professionals, and the swirl of construction dust. The New is coming to Fishtown, whether you like it or not–and it seems here to stay. Fishtown’s revitalization is a story of progress, mobility, and a unique vision. But underneath all of that construction dust lies hints of the past, of another world back when this was a different type of neighborhood when immigrant working-class families stayed for generations and crowded row homes shaped a true sense of community, and the greedy tentacles of gentrification hadn’t yet reached into every crevasse of this neighborhood. It was an old world, where Fishtown was perhaps quieter, more neighborly, when time moved more slowly, if not as fancy and trendy and clean. This was a world where factory buildings permeated the landscape and the El, a marvel of transportation, was newly built. [1] And one factory, in particular, stood out, an imposing structure sandwiched between American street and Cadwallader Streets in the heart of Olde Kensington: The Crane Arts Building.

Crane 1905, Jennifer Johnson
Auction #129

Jennifer Johnson’s image of the Crane Arts Building, made by porcelain tiles mounted on Wedi board and measuring 16 x 43 x1, harkens back to that epoch and honors its history. The building was built in 1905 as Crane plumbing, importing cast iron tubs from Trenton, NJ by train. They were ultimately stored on-site and distributed throughout the Philadelphia area. Interestingly, as a space currently used primarily for artistic events, the Icebox, was an open train shed and then was literally an icebox when a seafood company later came to occupy the building. [2] The space is now used for weddings and art shows, specifically by InLiquid, which is housed in the building’s third floor. Johnson’s work seems to create a perfect likeness of the building, with turquoise blue sky behind it. It showcases the details of the building, its stature, and breadth in porcelain, an old-world material. As Johnson states: “I create spaces and scenes which are kind of real. Sometimes you can feel them breathe.” And this image of a stately building really does breathe, as does the real thing, full of creative energy and spirit. If you have any relation to Crane Arts, to Fishtown, or to the arts, this work, which relishes in a piece of local history, is definitely worth having.

Jennifer Johnson received her MFA in ceramics at the Tyler School of Art and a BA in Philosophy from Swarthmore College. Her sculptures, The Architecture of Remembering, have been exhibited in Denmark (2017), in the Woodmere Annual (2018) in Philadelphia, and at the Anderson Center (Red Wing, MN, 2019). Currently, she is an artist-in-residence at Glen Foerd on the Delaware for 2019-2020.

[1]Taylor, Peter Lane, “How Fishtown Became America’s Hottest New Neighborhood,” Forbes, May 2, 2018, https://www.forbes.com/sites/petertaylor/2018/05/02/how-fishtown-philadelphia-became-americas-hottest-new-neighborhood/#cc47e532e598

[2] Stegale, Theresa, “Manufacturing A Good Time,” Hidden City, March 18, 2013, https://hiddencityphila.org/2013/03/manufacturing-a-good-time/

Orlando Saverino-Loeb

Orlando Saverino-Loeb is a Philadelphia born artist who works primarily in paint. His works change and unfold based on the…

Orlando Saverino-Loeb is a Philadelphia born artist who works primarily in paint. His works change and unfold based on the viewers own experiences and emotions.…

Orlando Saverino-Loeb is a Philadelphia born artist who works primarily in paint. His works change and unfold based on the viewers own experiences and emotions.…

Jay Walker

Raised in South Texas, Jay Walker received a BFA in Studio Art from Texas A&M in 2004, then went on to receive an MFA…

Raised in South Texas, Jay Walker received a BFA in Studio Art from Texas A&M in 2004, then went on to receive an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA in 2006. Since then,…

Raised in South Texas, Jay Walker received a BFA in Studio Art from Texas A&M in 2004, then went on to receive an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA in 2006. Since then, he has created…

Patrick Hay

Intelligent, insightful mixed media artwork with a narrative component. Pieces inspired by and informed by the past while…

Intelligent, insightful mixed media artwork with a narrative component. Pieces inspired by and informed by the past while making commentary on contemporary events. …

Intelligent, insightful mixed media artwork with a narrative component. Pieces inspired by and informed by the past while making commentary on contemporary events. …

Abigail R. Cohen

Award Winning Photographer and Founder of TheArtBiz. Made Huge Contributions to the Philly Art Community, including Support…

Award Winning Photographer and Founder of TheArtBiz. Made Huge Contributions to the Philly Art Community, including Support for the Youth in the Arts.…

Award Winning Photographer and Founder of TheArtBiz. Made Huge Contributions to the Philly Art Community, including Support for the Youth in the Arts.…

Kristin Osgood Lamelas

Kristin Osgood Lamelas’ mixed-media paintings reference aerial views of specific landscapes and images of cells from her…

Kristin Osgood Lamelas’ mixed-media paintings reference aerial views of specific landscapes and images of cells from her own body, creating a micro/ macro relationship.

Kristin Osgood Lamelas’ mixed-media paintings reference aerial views of specific landscapes and images of cells from her own body, creating a micro/ macro relationship.

previous arrow
next arrow
Slider