Historical Journal

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Anthony Visco: An Exhibition of Sculpture and Drawing

September 15, 1983
Judith Stein

A writer and curator, studied at Barnard College, and has a Ph.D. in art history from the University of Pennsylvania. She is the author of Eye of the Sixties, Richard Bellamy and the Transformation of Modern Art, (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2016). Her curatorial projects include Red Grooms, A Retrospective, for the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and The Figurative Fifties, New York School Figurative Expressionism, co-curated with Paul Schimmel. Her exhibition, I Tell My Heart: The Art of Horace Pippin, traveled to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1995, and earned a best catalogue award from AICA/USA. Her articles, interviews and reviews have appeared in Art in America, Art News, and The New York Times Book Review, as well as on National Public Radio’s Fresh Air and Morning Edition. Among her honors is a Creative Capital/Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant; a Pew Fellowship for literary non-fiction; and a Lannan Foundation writing residency in Marfa, Texas.

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"I do not see traditionalism as the Garden of Eden whose back door we must try to reenter."

The Commissions for Old St. Joseph’s and Related Works
An Exhibition of Sculpture and Drawing by
September 15 through October 23, 1983
Artist Statement
When commissioned to do the Stations of the Cross for Old St. Joseph’s Church in Philadelphia, on the occasion of the 250th anniversary of its founding, I had no idea just how much work it would have generated. It afforded me a place to permanently house my works as well as the opportunity to unite my creative, intellectual and spiritual energies. However, it also presented a great challenge — to make an art form that functioned visually without interfering with the spiritual content, while at the same time, to create a spiritual reality out of the physical world. In my selection of works for the Morris Gallery, I chose works that would continue the theme of the St. Joseph Stations. The Passion of Christ, the Exodus of the Jews, the Flight into Egypt, Noah and the Flood, Jonah and the Whale, the Stigmatization of St. Francis, all deal with the subject of trial, probation or transitus — hence the title Via Dolorosa.
One of the most important phases of my development as a figurative artist was my receiving a Fulbright-Hayes grant to study in Florence. I became more curious about the tradition of creative answering in art rather than the questioning of the nature of art and defining it through negation. My studies there taught me that following a tradition is just as difficult as not following one. I learned to lose my fear of the past, that classicism was by no means a re-creation of the past anymore than avant-guardism was an approximation of the future. Florence convinced me of something I believed, intuitively as a young student, that classicism is not a period but a sense of order and design. Art does not become “classical” because of a time element, it is made classical by the use of classical design.
I do not see traditionalism as the Garden of Eden whose back door we must try to reenter. Nor do I see modernism as the forbidden fruit from whose knowledge there is no return. When something can be easily distinguished as art, it permits the artist and viewer to continue the dialogue in areas other than the self-defining aspects of the work itself. I believe art then becomes free to be transcendental.
Anthony Visco
Plaster and wood
31-1/4 H x 21-1/2″ W x 3″ D
1. Christ Before Pilate
2. Jesus Receives His Cross
3. Christ Falls the First Time
4. Jesus Meets His Mother
5. Simon the Cyrene Helps Jesus
6. Veronica Wipes the Face of Christ
7. Jesus Falls the Second Time
8. The Women of Jerusalem Weep Over Jesus
9. Jesus Falls the Third Time
11. Jesus is Nailed to the Cross
12. Jesus Dies on the Cross
13. The Deposition of Christ
14. The Entombment of Christ
15. The Resurrection
16. Jesus and the Lepers
12″ x 20″ x 8″
Bronze and wood
17. Jesus and the Demon Child
17″ x 4″ x 4″
Bronze and marble
18. Absalom My Absalom
18″ x 16″ x 12″
19. The Annunciation to Gabriel
7″ x 3 1/2″ x 3 1/2″
Bronze marble
20. Noah, the Baptism of the
World w/ Jonah and the Whale
8″ x 5 1/2″ x 7″
Bronze, gold plate, plexiglass base
Lent by: St. Anastasia’s R.C. Church,
Newtown Square, PA
21. Blessed Stephen Bellesini,
7″ x 4 1/2″ x 3 3/4″
Bronze and marble
22. Allann, Yom Kippur
21″ x 18″ x 10″
23. The Exodus of Israel Out of Egypt
24″ x 25 1/2″ x 6″
Plaster and wood
24. Blessed Stephen Bellesini, O.S.A.
42″ x 26″ x 30″
Lent by: St. Genevieve Rectory, Flourtown, PA
25. Preparation for the Flight Into Egypt
27″ x 23″ x 3″
Plaster and wood
26-29. The Stigmatization of St. Francis of Assisi
4 Pieces 15 1/4 ” x 11″ x 4″
Bronze and wood
30. Bro. Leo and Father Francis
15 1/4 ” x 11 1/4 ” x 4″
Bronze and wood
1. The Despoliation of Christ
43 1/4″ x 29 1/4″
Charcoal, pigment on paper
2. The Magdalene of Via Dolorosa
43 1/4 ” x 29 1/4″
Charcoal, pigment on paper
3. The Deposition of Christ
43 1/4 ” x 29″
Charcoal, pigment on paper
4. Sister Death, Angel Death
43 1/4 ” x 29 1/4 ”
Charcoal, pigment on paper
5. Bro. Leo Kissing the Feet of His Father Francis
43 1/4 ” x 29 1/4 ”
Charcoal, pigment on paper
6. Christ Before Pilate
20 1/2 ” x 16 3/4″
Oil brush on paper
7. The Deposition
20 1/4 ” x 16 3/4 ”
Oil brush o paper
8. Veronica Meets the Face of Christ
20 1/4 ” x 16 3/4″
Oil brush on paper
9. Noli Me Tangere
20 1/4 ” x 16 3/4 ”
Oil brush on paper
10. Moses
33″ x 40″
Pencil on paper
11. The Collection of Manna from Heaven
19″ x 25″
Pencil on paper
12. Study for Exodus Family
21-1/4″ x 16-3/4″
Pencil on paper
13. Peace and Justice Will Kiss
18″ x 16″
Pencil on paper
Anthony Visco’s work is shown through the courtesy of the artist
A price list is available at the Academy Shop desk
Anthony Visco
A native Philadelphian, Visco began his art education with classes in drawing and printmaking at the Fleisher Art Memorial from 1964-66. He received a B.F.A. degree in sculpture (1970) from the Philadelphia College of Art, where he studied under Natalie Charkow, Walter Erlebacher, Gretna Campbell and Leonard Lehrer. While on a summer fellowship at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 1969 he met Red Grooms, who sparked his interest in representational art and narrative content. Up to that point, Visco had been a nonfigurative artist. In 1970 he was the recipient of a Fulbright-Hayes grant to travel to Italy where he studied at the Academia Delle Belle Arti in Florence. Visco has also been awarded the Elizabeth T. Greenshields grant from Canada for figurative sculpture (1975-76) and a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship for Sculpture (1982).

Solo Exhibitions
The Italian Trade Commission, Philadelphia, PA
First Street Gallery, New York, NY
Lace Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Cabrini College, Radnor, PA
The Bourse Building, Philadelphia, PA
Group Exhibitions
Invitational Exhibition, Academy of Music, Philadelphia, PA
41st Eucharistic Congress, Exhibition of Liturgical Arts, Civic Center
Small Works, First Street Gallery, New York, NY
Fulbright Recipient Show, Philadelphia College of Art, Philadelphia, PA
Liturgical Arts Show, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian, Bryn Mawr, PA
Untitled, First Street Gallery, New York, NY
Animals, First Street Gallery, New York, NY
The Morris Gallery displays the work of outstanding contemporary artists with a connection to Philadelphia, determined by birth, schooling or residence. The exhibitions are chosen by a committee composed of area artists, museum personnel and collectors, and the curatorial staff of the Academy. Currently serving on the Morris Gallery Exhibition Committee are: Ofelia Garcia, Anne d’Harnonoourt, Jennie Q. Dietrich, Janet Kardon, Jay Richardson Massey, Charles Mather III, John Moore, Jody Pinto, Mark Rosenthal, Acey Wolgin;.and Academy staff Frank Goodyear, Kathy Foster, Linda Bantel, Betty Romanella and Judith Stein, Morris Gallery coordinator.
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