Graffiti & Ornament

The Woodlands | 4000 Woodland Avenue, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
March 31 — April 28, 2019 | Opening: Sunday, March 31st, 1-4 pm
Exhibition Hours: Weds - Thurs: 11 am — 4 pm | Fri - Sun: 1 pm — 6 pm

Left: Roberto Lugo,  Method Man and Jimi Hendrix , 2018, earthenware and china paint, Image by Kenek, Photography courtesy of Wexler Gallery; Center:  The Woodlands, Interior View , Photo by Ryan Collerd; Right: Leo Tecosky,  Cut Arrow , 2017, blown, sculpted, and cut glass, Photo by Cuentos del Caribe

Left: Roberto Lugo, Method Man and Jimi Hendrix, 2018, earthenware and china paint, Image by Kenek, Photography courtesy of Wexler Gallery; Center: The Woodlands, Interior View, Photo by Ryan Collerd; Right: Leo Tecosky, Cut Arrow, 2017, blown, sculpted, and cut glass, Photo by Cuentos del Caribe

Opening March 31st, Past Present Projects will present Graffiti & Ornament at The Woodlands in West Philadelphia. The exhibition brings the work of artists Roberto Lugo and Leo Tecosky into the historic Hamilton Mansion. Bridging past histories of Philadelphia with the present, the site-specific exhibition connects a carved 19th century graffiti inscription at The Woodlands to these two contemporary artists who embrace graffiti and hip-hop culture within their artistic practice.  


Related Programs:

Opening Celebration | Sunday, March 31st from 1:00pm - 4:00pm | Free and open to the public

Lecture: Historical Graffiti with Michael Emmons | Saturday, April 6th from 1:00pm - 2:00pm | GET TICKETS

Family Program: Make Art with the Claymobile | Saturday, April 13th from 11:00am - 2:00pm | Free and open to the public

Exhibition Tour | Saturday, April 27th at 1:00pm | Free, part of West Craft Fest

Closing Celebration | Sunday, April 28th from 1:00pm - 4:00pm | Free and open to the public


About Roberto Lugo

Artist, activist, and self-titled ‘ghetto potter,’ Roberto Lugo was born in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood. For Graffiti & Ornament, Lugo will tell the story, he says, of “my side of Philly.” Today a professor of ceramics at Tyler School of Art, Lugo’s vessels recall traditional ceramics, but the artist inserts his Puerto Rican heritage, and his personal and cultural heroes into the work. Lugo’s work bears witness to histories that have often been excluded, and as a result, reshapes the narrative of ceramics. Graffiti often becomes the ornament on his vessels, which depict portraits that range from hip-hop stars the Wu-Tang Clan, to poet Gwendolyn Brooks. For Graffiti & Ornament, Lugo will create monumental vessels to memorialize those from his Kensington community, echoing the wooded cemetery that surrounds the Hamilton mansion. 

Roberto Lugo. Portrait by Jewel Lea Photography, Courtesy of Wexler Gallery.

About Leo Tecoksy

Artist Leo Tecoksy’s sculptural glass and neon pieces for Graffiti & Ornament will create a multifaceted homage to his grandmother Evelyn Rose Tecosky, a life-long Philadelphia resident whose Depression glass collection inspired the artist’s own work in glass. Sited around the mansion’s stately bay windows, Tecosky’s installations of hanging glass arrows, stars, and crowns will reflect traditional chandeliers and graffiti graphics, their pale colors a nod to his grandmother’s Depression glass. Evelyn, his grandmother’s name, will transform into graffiti-influenced neon sculptures. Finally, a hand-blown and etched lamp will cast pattern and language onto the mansion’s dining room walls, using light to layer the contemporary era onto the house’s celebrated neoclassical interior.

Leo Tecosky. Photo by Lamar Burroughs Photography.

In Graffiti & Ornament, the site-specific work of Lugo and Tecosky will shed new light on the historic interior of the Hamilton Mansion at The Woodlands, connecting Philadelphia’s past to its present in unexpected ways.

Press inquiries: info@woodlandsphila.org

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Graffiti & Ornament is generously funded by the Knight Foundation with additional support provided by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund and Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. In-kind sponsorship has been provided by Baldwin Fine Art & Residential and Justin Long.

The Knight Foundation Supports Graffiti & Ornament

The Woodlands, a 54-acre undulating landscape which is at once a one-of-a-kind 18th-century English pleasure garden, 19th-century rural cemetery, and a modern green oasis for its neighbors in bustling University City and West Philadelphia. Designated a National Historic Landmark District and actively used today, the cemetery, mansion, landscape, and programs are an educational resource meant to enrich the lives of area residents and visitors by serving as a hub for activities and educational programs that interpret, celebrate and make available to the public The Woodlands’ historic buildings and tranquil green space. woodlandsphila.org