Object Lesson


Object Lesson is a monthly First Friday speaker series that opens wide the cases of the Center’s Museum Collection through the perspectives of individuals from the worlds of art, design, performance, community activism, education, and more, creating fresh dialogues about the Collection and its objects.

Explore Object Lessons
Sam Davis

Sam Davis on Hartmut Rademann's Door / 8 July / Pine Street

Sam Davis is currently completing his undergraduate Art History studies at the Tyler School of Art + Architecture at Temple University. A native Philadelphian, Sam grew up going to First Friday events with family and friends, and now works at the Center for Art in Wood as a visitor services associate and social media specialist. You can usually find him behind the front desk of the Center, giving a gallery tour, or posting orangutan videos on the Center’s social media.

This past school year, Sam completed his thesis addressing the history and importance of Eco-critical art theory, with an accompanying ecological analysis of William Eggleston’s photography. In the future, he hopes to help bring art and art history out of academic circles in order to make the arts more accessible for everyone.








Leila Cartier on Norm Sartorius' Spoon

Leila Cartier is the Executive Director of CraftNOW Philadelphia, which unites organizations to promote the historic and contemporary role of the city in the fields of craft and making. Her studio practice is located in 1241 Carpenter Studios + Project Space in South Philadelphia and she is represented by SchmidtDean Gallery.

From 2010 – 2015, Cartier was the Director of Exhibitions at the William King Museum of Art in her hometown of Abingdon, Virginia, an underserved area of the Appalachian coalfields with little to no other access to the arts. Her curatorial projects consisted of bringing art from around the world to the region, documenting and exhibiting material culture from Southwest Virginia and Northeast Tennessee, and presenting regional contemporary art in all media. She holds an MFA in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and concurrently studied Arabic Language at Depaul University with a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship. Her BFA in Art and Art History from Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia included a year spent with Temple University Rome, Italy.

Leila Cartier








Ksenia Nouril on David Bender and Jérôme Blanc's Printer: From Top to Bottom

Ksenia Nouril is the Jensen Bryan Curator at The Print Center, a 105-year-old non-profit institution in Philadelphia dedicated to expanding the understanding of photography and printmaking as vital contemporary arts. A specialist in global contemporary art, Ksenia previously held a Contemporary and Modern Art Perspectives (C-MAP) Fellowship in the International Program at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. She has organized exhibitions at the Bruce Museum, Lower East Side Printshop, MoMA, and Zimmerli Art Museum. Ksenia lectures widely and frequently writes for international exhibition catalogues, magazines, and academic journals, including ARTMargins Online, The Calvert Journal, Institute of the Present, OSMOS, and Woman’s Art Journal. She has published two books: Art and Theory of Post-1989 Central and Eastern Europe: A Critical Anthology (co-editor and contributor, MoMA, 2018) and Ilya Kabakov and Viktor Pivovarov: Stories About Ourselves (editor and contributor, Rutgers University Press, 2019). Ksenia holds a BA in Art History and Slavic Studies from New York University and an MA and PhD in Art History from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Ksenia Nouril







James Maurelle on Lynne Yamaguchi's Learning to Cope: Pear Incognito under a Mantle of Cherry

James Maurelle is an interdisciplinary artist, sculpture, video, photography, and sound art are his analog and digital primes, His work investigates the correlation formed between labor and creativity, at the center of this byway is the spirit of his work. Constructing objects and moving images are not unlike creating music compositions, the accompaniment: i,e, tools, and materials, are a call and response to dexterity. The rubric to complete any composition is to know ones’ instrument(s)/tools; the creative process is based on this reciprocal understanding. Jazz is the primer which propels the work, the tone/feel of every composition is in direct association with the culture. Every object I compose is a physical versioning of a historic recording of happening, every tool used is an augmented scale referencing an industrial progression. The materials (wood, metal, plastic, film) are the staff paper, and every committed strike upon these materials forms a note or chord. The fluidity connecting mind, hand, and tools are based on the augmented triad which is the cornerstone of my work ethic. The main objective is to continue creating full-bodied compositions, as long as the staff paper flows, I will inscribe upon it.

His work has shown in solo and group exhibitions in New York, Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Austin, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and San Francisco. He is a recipient of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Fellowship (2015).

James Maurelle







Elizabeth Essner on Kay Sekimachi's Hornet's Nest Bowl

Elizabeth Essner is an independent curator, writer, and researcher based in Brooklyn, New York. A 2017 Curatorial Fellow with the Center for Craft, she has curated exhibitions for institutions including the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Arizona State University Art Museum, the Minnesota Museum of American Art, and the Woodlands, a historic site in Philadelphia. Elizabeth serves as a researcher for two forthcoming publications and has written for magazines including Modern and Metalsmith. She received her MA from the Bard Graduate Center and has previously been an auction house specialist and an appraiser.

Elizabeth Essner




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