June 15, 2005 - Abington Art Center - The Lost Meeting
June 15, 2005

The Lost Meeting

The Lost Meeting
J. Morgan Puett and spurse
with Julie Courtney and David Lang

June 5-November 23, 2005

Abington Art Center
515 Meetinghouse Road
Jenkintown, PA 19046
Exhibition hours: Thursdays 4-8 pm; Sundays 1-5 pm and by appointment


The Lost Meeting, curated by Julie Courtney, takes place in Little Abington Meeting, an abandoned Quaker meeting house built in 1836 that lies within the Sculpture Park of Abington Art Center in Alverthorpe Park, Jenkintown, PA.

Little Abington Meeting was created by Quakers as an outcome of the Orthodox/Hicksite schism of 1927-28. The schism,which lasted from 1827 1955, was a separation based, in part, on Quaker theological understanding.

Moving through this schism and Quaker culture of that period, the collaborators in The Lost Meeting have set-up a provisional drafting studio in the building of the Little Abington Meeting to experiment with historical domestic objects using 21st c. technology. The objects will be considered as mediators that are part of our everyday lives. These object-mediators occur everywhere and between us they are what allows us to be part of the world, (i.e. clothing, furniture, childrens toys, writings). They intervene into the dialogue of re-thinking what is our relation to the everyday. The installation itself becomes the ambassador of difference that travels in between and across a terrain that involves the Quakers, site histories and other events. This studio will investigate the mediators and the everyday primarily through architectural and clothing pattern drafting systems.

J. Morgan Puett is an artist/designer who consistently negotiates the intersection of history, sociology, economics, architectural practices and the fashion system. Recent projects include Cottage Industry (Spoleto, 2002, Charleston, SC), a complex and multi-layered event that re-made a residential structure into a trans-historical textile and clothing manufactory/museum. Grafters Shack (Wave Hill, 2002, New York) was a meditation on the interdisciplinary nexus of grafting in biology, sociology, and autobiography. These and other projects and collaborations such as RN: The Past, Present and Future of the Nurses Uniform(2004 Philadelphia) with Mark Dion and the Fabric Workshop and Museum, are part of ongoing methods to re-think and re-imagine the space of relations in a public sphere.

spurse is an international collective with no (fixed) content or membership. Much of spurses recent works involve a rethinking of ideas of public and public space. Recent works include Sans Terre: a temporary research institute for the investigation of Urbanization (MassMoca, 2004) and After Nature: Sustaining What (ICA, 2004, Portland, ME).

Composer David Lang is a founder and artistic director of New York’s
legendary music organization Bang on a Can. His work for amplified orchestra, The Passing Measures was used by J. Morgan Puett in her piece Cottage Industry at the Spoleto Festival in 2002. The recording of The Passing Measures on the Cantaloupe label, was New Yorker magazine’s classical recording of the year 2001.

Julie Courtney is an independent curator who has gained a reputation for organizing installations outside the traditional museum or gallery space. Her current projects include Pandemonium with Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller at Eastern State Penitentiary; and meta/Metasequoia with John McQueen and Margo Mensing for Morris Arboretum. From 1998-2001, Courtney curated Points of Departure: Art on the Line, a series of eight artworks in commuter rail train stations in suburban Philadelphia. In 1995, she co-curated Prison Sentences: The Prison as Site/The Prison as Subject at Eastern State Penitentiary.

The Lost Meeting is an ongoing investigation that will host a series of first day meetings which will occur on the first Sunday of every month (unless otherwise noted). All events will begin at 2 pm and will occur at the Little Abington Meeting (unless otherwise noted) on Jenkintown Road at Fisher Road, off Meetinghouse Road.

June 5: Opening of The Lost Meeting with the artists and members of the community.

July 10: Kristina Haugland

A conversation with Kristina Haugland, Associate Curator of Costume and Textiles at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, who will examine Quaker clothing, from common stereotypes and idealizations to the real-life complexities of expressing faith through dress. This talk considers the significance of simple clothing and the various ways Friends interpreted “plainness,” and the various ways Friends interpreted plainness.

August 7: Richard Pieper

Richard Pieper will conduct a Walk/Talk through the meeting house. Pieper is a Partner and Director of Preservation for Jan Hird Pokorny Associates and an adjunct Asst. Professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Architectural Planning and Historic Preservation. He will give a spontaneous tour of the Little Abington Meeting and will tell fascinating histories of the building through a close reading of the actual structure.

September 11: David Lang in Performance & Discussion.

Composer David Lang will conduct Relache and the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia performing No Pain, (words by William Penn), a piece he created as part of “The Lost Meeting” collaboration. Lang has created a score as a round to be performed by musicians of all levels.

October 2: spurse: A Conversation on Rethinking the Everyday

Members of spurse will host a conversation on one of the central topics of this project: How do we understand the everyday? And what role do mediators have in how we imagine, understand, and interact with our world?

November 6: The Lost Meeting

A dialogue with J. Morgan Puett, Iain Kerr, Sue Mackler, Julie Courtney, Christopher Densmore, Catherine LaVoie and others. An overview discussion of the various undertakings of The Lost Meeting.

The Lost Meeting project has been supported by Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, a program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by The University of the Arts, Philadelphia. Additional support has been received by The William Penn Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Artists and Communities, a program of MidAtlantic Arts Foundation; and the Pennsylvania Humanities Council.

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