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Any art fan can tell you that art is good for the heart. In Philly, it’s just a little more literal, thanks to some intense cardio from First Friday gallery hopping, to the impressive stairway at James Oliver Gallery. (Notice the red carpet for stars who make it to the top?)

On June 26, a party at JOG wrapped up the recent exhibition for John Y. Wind’s The Making of a Modern Man.

Fourth floor visitors entered the movie set version of a teenager’s bedroom – obligatory celebrity collages, comic book and porn mag cameos, charms and chotchkies trapped in various states of entropy. It’s a white noise that makes you identify with Wind’s headphoned Beethoven bust – inundated with the music he cannot hear. But put your ear to the wooden floor and the vibrations of life begin to emerge.

IMG_0491Patterns for the well-lived life take shape: well-traveled, well-dressed, well-documented. But it’s more than just a superficial index of hotel notepads, fashion icons, and ticket stubs. Hidden in the midst of idols like Elvis Presley and Superman are the personal influencers of everyday life. A piece by the artist’s mother, Dina Wind – lifegiver to both the flesh of his body and the bones of his artistic inspiration – forms a backdrop to the Flesh to Bones installation. Tags from his grandfather’s drycleaning shop connect a cascade of corks in the Charm Bar.

It’s almost like the Sherlock Holmes theory of cognition made visible: “I consider that a man’s brain originally is like a little empty attic, and you have to stock it with such furniture as you choose.”

Wind’s brainspace is obsessively inventoried, filed by title – All American Boy, Flesh to Bones (Carne ad Ossa), The Making of a Modern Man, Over the Rainbow, Mssr. Peacock, and John Wind Charm Bar – and time – calendars count repeatedly from one to twelve using everything from playing cards to mathematical equations. In this yardsale of memories, it’s difficult not to lose yourself in intricacy and nostalgia and all the little details that make – or are made by – the modern man.
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Howard Silberthau

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