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Hard To Please

Hard To Please
Location Little Berlin, 2430 Coral St. Philadelphia
Dates November 7 – November 29, 2014
Opening Reception November 7, 6 – 10PM
Performance by BAIT with choreography by Kate Speidel, 8PM

GALLERY OPEN HOURS Saturdays 12 – 5pm and during special events such as our MONDAZE events every monday evening. Also open by appointment via contacting

Curator Maddie Hewitt
Artists BAIT (Philadelphia, PA), Stephanie Bursese (Philadelphia, PA), Chiara No (Philadelphia, PA), Will Owen (Queens, NY), GaHee Park (New York, NY), Dani Frid Rossi (Brooklyn, NY), Caity Shaffer (Austin, TX), and Alexander Stewart (Chicago, IL).


Hard To Please features artwork exploring relationship power struggles and their contribution to the culture of violence as a result of conflicting mutual desires. The exhibit addresses our human tendency to desire what other people desire, imitate others in order to achieve those desires, and react towards other people taking the things we desire.

The exhibit includes photography, video, painting, collage, performance, a short story and three-course meal by artists living and working in Philadelphia, New York, Chicago and Austin. Each work centers around a relationship dynamic where two or more people–competing athletes, coworkers, romantic partners, a mother and her child, and so on–rival for sole possession of something. Rather than establishing who wins or loses a conflict, the exhibit chooses relationships where the power dynamic is ambiguous.

Based on philosopher Rene Girard’s theory of Mimetic Desire, Girard suggests that all of our desires are borrowed from other people. The word “mimetic” can be directly translated into “using imitative means of representation”. Girard considers mimetic desire–learning to desire what other people desire–to be the origin of a type of conflict that focuses on the destruction of a rival. His theory explains our competitive and envious behavior, which can escalate into physical violence.

Hard To Please is presented in Little Berlin’s main gallery from November 7, 2014 – November 29, 2014 with an opening reception on First Friday, November 7 from 6-10PM. There is also an event in conjunction with the exhibit where New York-based artist, Will Owen concludes his time-based plant piece by cooking a three-course meal and serving it in Little Berlin’s main gallery. The event takes place November 22, 2014 at 8PM.

BAIT is a collective founded in 2013 by Kate Speidel, Sasha Parker, and Ben Coover.
We got a house that had track lighting.
We are nervous about making thngs in the real world.
We want to make things real and we want a place to do that.
Bait is the high school you wanted to go to, where people you like teach you things, you’re allowed to cut class and your mom never picks you up.
Bait is creeping on the Internet and falling asleep to movies late at night and picking and picking and picking at the same two scabs.

Stephanie Bursese earned her B.F.A from the University of Florida and her M.F.A. from Syracuse University. She was selected for a residency at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in 2006 and was awarded a project grant from the Meadowlands Commission in New Jersey in 2009. She is on the editorial staff of the Nicola Midnight St. Claire, a publication devoted to contemporary art and criticism; in 2013 she self-published her first book of photographs Razor Thin Rock Hard. Bursese is a member of Vox Populi Gallery in Philadelphia and will be showing new work in Shift your Weight, a group exhibition that opens in November 2014.

Chiara No was born in 1981 and raised in Maryland. She studied Art and Theory at the Glasgow School of Art in 2002-2003 and received a BA in Art History from Towson University in 2005. She has also received a Post-Baccalaureate in Painting and Drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011. Chiara No is currently a second year MFA candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.

Will Owen is an artist working primarily with design, interactive media, sound, and food. Originally from western North Carolina and currently based in a few city centers of the American northeast, Will is interested in the social intersections of the organic & synthetic, memory & perceived reality, and Fozzie Bear & Miss Piggy. Will is currently an artist in resident at Flux Factory in Queens, New York. Recently, Will had an installation at the original site of the Black Mountain College and was included in a 2014 Harvard peer-reviewed study of the “most memorable data visualizations” regarding his design work for the international medical humanitarian aid organization Doctors Without Borders.

GaHee Park was born in Seoul and is based in New York. She has a BFA in Painting from Tyler School of Art and is currently attending the MFA program at Hunter College. Her first solo exhibition was held at Marginal Utility in Philadelphia in March 2012.

Dani Frid Rossi was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1983. She works in a variety of media including video, photography, collage, and installation. Dani’s work investigates modes of control at a personal and social level, with a particular interest in the idiosyncrasies of masculinity within specific cultural groups. She received her MFA from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York.

Caity Shaffer was born in Princeton, New Jersey, to a pack of psychologists. She earned her B.A. in English Literature from Temple University. For three years Shaffer worked at Robin’s bookstore in Philadelphia, where she organized hundreds of readings for Moonstone Art Center. She lives in Texas and works in Museum Development at Mexic-Arte Museum.

Alexander Stewart‘s films have screened internationally, including at the International Film Festival Rotterdam, the Ann Arbor Film Festival, the Tribeca Film Festival, and ImageForum in Japan. He is co-director of the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation and teaches at DePaul University.

Earlier Event: October 27
Later Event: November 14
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