Ambitions and Limitations of Civic Engagement in the Museum

Hyperallergic, October 21, 2017

“As a response to increased pressure from the Trump administration to undermine sanctuary cities, Traction built “Toward Sanctuary” (2017), which measures 30 feet in diameter. The collective’s intention was to create “a forum to discuss, ideate, dream, and collectively imagine sanctuary in Philadelphia.” (Just recently, ICE agents came to the city and removed 107 immigrants, the largest number in a ten city sweep.) The juxtaposition of Stockbridge’s photographs and interviews with Traction’s geodesic domes drives home the idea that without humane intervention, refugees are almost guaranteed a painful life and demise.”

Art galleries: Anthropocene art; Works from the PAFA foundry, January 6, 2017

“”From the PAFA Foundry: 30 Years of Casting” offers an impressive selection of cast-metal works by 17 sculptors, most of them working in the figurative tradition, including sculptures by recent graduates and by PAFA instructors Gary Weisman, who instituted PAFA’s foundry, and Joshua Koffman and John Grieg Jr.”

Philly pride shines through the Logan hotel’s careful artwork

BillyPenn, January 9, 2016

“Many of the larger works were produced by the Philadelphia Traction Company, an artists co-op in West Philly, including the very first piece you see at the hotel’s main entrance. In collaboration with the Philadelphia Historical Society, the artists created a “chandelier” comprised of more than 300 portraits of famous or important Philadelphians.”

Top 20 Things To Do In Philadelphia During Columbus Day Weekend 2015

UWISHUNU, October 5, 2015

“The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts closes Traction Company, its exhibition about a PAFA-run collective and studio space in West Philly of the same name, on Sunday, October 11. Inside of the museum’s Fisher Brooks Gallery in the Hamilton Building, the 12 artists — made up of PAFA alumni, faculty and staff — have created collaborative and individual pieces. Bonus: Admission to the museum will be free on October 9 and 11 in celebration of the exhibition.”

Pope Francis Makes Last-Minute Stop at St Joseph’s University,  Sep 27, 2015

“Pope Francis will be making an extra stop to meet with St. Joseph’s University students at the Philadelphia campus before his Parkway parade and Mass Sunday.

The pontiff’s press office made the announcement of the extra stop on the pope’s itinerary for a statute blessing and visit to sick priests.

The Pope was joined by Rabbi Abraham Skorka — an old friend — for a ceremony at Joshua Koffman’s “Synagoga and Ecclesia in Our Time” — a statue recently dedicated outside the university’s chapel that commemorates the relationship between Catholics and Jewish people and 50th anniversary of Nostra Aetate decree.”

Traction Company at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Artblog, September 3, 2015

“Traction Company’s “Truss” (2015), on view at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), is an unexpected but heroic art object. “Truss” is a full-scale replica of a timber roof support from the Traction building, a former trolley-manufacturing warehouse now serving as studio space for Traction’s collective of 12 artists, all PAFA alumni. It is 65 feet long and constructed of immense wood beams, which were purchased by the group from a nearby demolition site of a same-era building in the quickly-gentrifying West Philadelphia neighborhood.”

Artists’ collective inspired by its workspace, September 2, 2015

“When considering the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ latest exhibition, it’s best to think of its crafty subjects as a big band, not just a bunch of PAFA alumni artists, staff, and faculty congregating to make things out of repurposed wood and metal. … ‘I think Traction proves that work can be beautifully handmade and conceptually rigorous,’ says Throckmorton. ‘They reflect an interest in craftsmanship, something that likely goes back to their time at PAFA; an interest in history, in learning traditional techniques, and learning about their place. And they deal with issues of gentrification, something Philly is grappling with, as well as big cities across the country.'”

Miguel Horn sculpts an expanding career, September 2, 2015

“An ambitious artist with Colombian and Venezuelan roots whose vision spans multiple communities and continents, Horn finds himself today, at 31, at a crossroads and immersed in determining the direction of his career. While public-art commissions punctuate his practice as a sculptor, he balances his portfolio with individual sculptures that express his inner psyche.”

Gaining Traction: Industrial-scale Collaboration in Philadelphia

artcritical, August 25, 2015

“Shared media or common theoretical interests sometimes spur artists to form a collective. The Philadelphia Traction Company is a collective formed around a building. Beginning in 2007, this group of graduates of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) set up shop in a vast shed that was once a repair depot for Philadelphia’s trolley system, and a symbol of the city’s industrial past. The process of making that forlorn and forbidding space their home was the common experience that forged their partnership. It has led to shared approaches to materials and a certain esprit de corps that has transcended markedly different artistic output of individual members.”

PAFA exhibit gets ‘Traction’, August 12, 2015

“Since 2007, Traction Company members have met once a week to work in a studio built in a former trolley manufacturing warehouse. The members work on their own art as well as collaborative pieces. One such piece is called “subTRACTION.” It’s a 1:6 scale miniature version of their studios, made completely by hand. Portions of “subTRACTION” are included in the PAFA exhibit, which also features new group pieces, including a full-scale re-creation of one of the truss structures from their studio, and individual artists’ works.”

8,000 pounds of art at Traction Company

metro, July 17, 2015

“A lot of this exhibition is centered around this idea of what would happen if this building didn’t exist,” explained curator Jodi Throckmorton. “It’s a memorial to the building if it were to disappear.”

In the galleries: Art picks for July, July 17, 2015

“Since 2007, a 12-member PAFA alumni, faculty and staff artist collective has been working out of a studio housed in a former trolley-manufacturing warehouse. The group, Traction Company, debut a new collaborative work including a full-scale recreation of truss structures from their studio.”

Raising high the roof beam — in the name of art and community

WHYY, July 1, 2015

“The giant roof truss is the second collaborative project in Traction Company’s eight-year history. It serves to convey many meanings — a symbol of a supportive environment, an example of the collective’s craftsmanship.”

Mantua: Traction Company Gives Artists a Place to Work Together

Philadelphia Neighborhoods, April 29, 2015

“The Traction Company took its name from a trolley manufacturing company that was housed in the same building in the 1800s. With such an old building, regular upkeep is necessary. Each of the 14 resident artists are expected to come together on Fridays to help with the upkeep of the building and in return they receive a subsidized rent.”

December art galleries: Goodbyes and good buys, November 27, 2013:

“One of the biggest undertakings of the month—or the absolute smallest, depending on how you look at it—was created by The Philadelphia Traction Company (4100 Haverford Ave.) and is on display at Napoleon (319 N. 11th St.) until Mon., Dec. 9. Clocking in more than 4,620 hours since April, their 13 members shrank their giant studio into an extremely detailed miniature model, entitled subTRACTION, right down to the pressure gauges, ladders, bikes and bolts in the rafters. You have to see it to believe it.”

Collective Citywide exhibit celebrates Philly’s contemporary art scene

WHYY, November 12, 2015

“Billy Dufala stood like Godzilla, towering over a miniature version of his own warehouse studio. “We’re in the trusses right now,” said Dufala through the oak beams that support the peaked roof of the Traction Company, which, in real life, is an 8,000-square-foot space shared by 14 artists making large scale sculptures.  Dufala was standing in a one-sixth scale model of Traction, small enough to fit inside the 220-square-foot white-cube space of Napoleon, a tiny art gallery named for grand ambition despite its small size.”

Bidding farewell to proud, sad remnant of Philadelphia’s past with ‘Funeral for a Home’

WHYY, May 28, 2014

“If you can get everyone to understand it’s a symbol, then it’s not just about a house,” said Steven Dufala. “Houses are homes where families lived. History is a big part of this. This house is not just a home – it’s every time this has happened.”

King Tut statue created in Germantown unveiled at Texas museum

WHYY, November 7, 2013

“Late on Halloween night, Miguel Antonio Horn began unearthing a giant concrete sculpture of King Tutankhamen with a team of fellow artists in Germantown.

Horn had been commissioned by the Brownsville Museum of Fine Art with a grant from the Brownsville (Texas) Community Improvement Corp. to produce the four-meter statue to accompany a special exhibition of Egyptian artifacts.”

Mandy Katz examines West Philadelphia past and present at Traction Company, May 30, 2013

“At the West Philadelphia Traction Company workspace and art center, the exterior walls present a revolving door of artwork that changes a couple of times a year. In each of the large, covered windows surrounding the building, site-specific works counter the brick facade with prints by a single artist. This summer’s display by Mandy Katz is a phantasm of black and white wheat pastes that draw on the distant and not-too-distant history and ecology of the surrounding areas. Written and audio components also complement the work through a collaboration with Kia Hayes, Elliott Harvey and Angela Vitacollina.”

Behind Studio Doors, October 5, 2012

“West Philly’s Traction Co., founded five years ago by a half-dozen Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts graduates, is not a studio, but a cooperative fabrication and production shop in a former trolley factory with 40-foot ceilings. It’s also a community partner in POST 2012.Traction’s overseer, sculptor Miguel Antonio Horn, calls POST “a great chance to devote time specifically to receiving an audience and giving our undivided attention to their curiosity.” This year, the facility, whose huge interior facilitates its members’ fondness for “big work,” is bringing in Justin Duerr. A Philly illustrator and the star of Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles, he’ll display his career-spanning opus of black-and-white, large-format scrolls depicting what he calls Panoptic Story Scroll (Unfinished Cycloramic Mind Diagram), which, when connected, forms a 55-foot mural.”

Traction Company: How 8 PAFA Grads Built the Most Dynamic Art Studio in Philadelphia, July 19, 2012

“The sounds of mitre and table saws are audible through the open front gate. Just behind the wooden slats, Kare Tonapetyan is rebuilding his trailer so that he and his girlfriend, Margaret can leave tomorrow for LA with his work and gear in tow. The remaining six of the eight members of the Philadelphia Traction Company have just finished their weekly Friday meeting and are about to start their collaborative Friday work hours on building repairs and construction in the ever-evolving 19th century historic trolley manufacturing company.”

WHYY Friday Night Arts

WHYY, May 2012

“A seven-foot-tall bronze likeness of the country singer Willie Nelson is being created in West Philadelphia. Installed in Austin TX, the statue was molded, cast and assembled “entirely in Philadelphia” says sculptor Clete Shields. winner of the sculptural commission from an Austin-area arts group. This is just one of the many artworks being made by THE PHILADELPHIA TRACTION COMPANY – a collective of Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts graduates who are inspired by the very space around them to make “big work”. The space itself is a former trolley depot that covers half a city block and gave rise to, among the many “big” works of art, a dumpster-sized coffin and the “other” sculpture on Lenfest plaza; “Grumman Greenhouse”, a monument reconfigured from a WWII-era prop airplane.”