Capturing ‘The Poker Game’ at Woodmere Art Museum

Larry Day's "Poker Game" is part of the Woodmere exhibit.  Credit: Woodmere Art Museum
Larry Day’s “Poker Game” is part of the Woodmere exhibit.
Credit: Woodmere Art Museum

Fifty years ago, a group of six artists gathered in an Elkins Park studio space for the first of a planned series of critiques and discussions of each other’s work. After a few such meetings, sculptor Dennis Leon, who passed away in 1998, made an offhand suggestion that would create a ritual that has now lasted for half a century. “Dennis said, ‘Let’s play poker,’” recalls ceramic sculptor and art teacher Armand Mednick. “And that’s how we started.”

“The Poker Game and Its Circle,” a new exhibition opening this weekend at Woodmere Art Museum, celebrates that long-running monthly game with a show focused on “The Poker Game,” Larry Day’s 1970 portrait of the gathering. The show features work by the five players commemorated in that painting and their compatriots, including Mednick, Leon, Sidney Goodman, Jimmy Lueders and David Pease.

The game takes place at noon on the first Sunday of every month, without fail. “If you had a family, you’d better make arrangements,” Mednick says. He described the formalized structure of the gathering: “We play from 12 to 1; at 1 we have champagne and hors d’oeuvres, at 2 somebody prepares a wonderful meal with wine, then we have a little cognac and talk about our lives and our work, then we play for another two hours and at 5:15 the game is over and we wait for the next month.”

Gathering all of the poker players’ art in one place, Mednick says, was a good way to see how the game has impacted all of their work. “Over the years what it’s done is develop an intimacy between men that I’ve never felt anywhere else. We talk about real stuff: our lives, our fears, and that’s reflected in our art. Because all art is personal; we all represent different forms of trying to reach other people in a symbolic and human way that people can relate to.”

Though Day and two of the players in his portrait have passed on and other players have come and gone over the years, the game continues to this day with participants ranging in age from 88 to 37. The financial stakes have never been as high as the artistic ones, according to Mednick. “The most you could lose was 30, 40 bucks. But it’s a wonderful excuse for social exchange.”

“The Poker Game and Its Circle”
July 20-Oct. 26
Woodmere Art Museum
9201 Germantown Ave.
$7-$10, 215-247-0476
www.woodmereartmuseum.org


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

TIPS: How to take great photos during 'Manhattanhenge'

Grab your camera and make the perfect picture this Saturday.

National

Seinfeld emoji cound be available next week

Get your puffy shirts and your marble rye ready, America. Seinfeld emoji could become available as early as next week.

Local

Thousands come to pay respects to fallen NYC…

Thousands turned out to say farewell to fallen firefighter Gordon Ambelas at St. Clare’s Church in Staten Island this morning.

Local

Lawsuit against Amazon could result in refunds for…

The federal government filed a lawsuit to force Amazon to refund money spent without parental authorization.

Movies

Interview: Matt Reeves on directing 'Dawn of the…

"Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" director Matt Reeves discusses his love for the franchise, working with actors as apes and the weight of 3-D cameras.

Television

Final season of 'Glee' will be only 13…

The final season of "Glee" will officially be only 13 episodes, instead of the usual 22.

Entertainment

Complex characters, juicy scripts boost Netflix's Emmy nominations

The unconventional approach to TV at Netflix netted 31 Emmy nominations, a major achievement after plunging into original programing just last year.

Entertainment

Actor Josh Duhamel dons bunny suit to encourage…

The former Transformers star and husband to singer Fergie took to the Venice Beach boardwalk in California in a bright pink, Christmas-story inspired bunny suit Wednesday to help spread the…

World Cup

A game of two popes: Vatican plays down…

By Philip PullellaVATICAN CITY (Reuters) - With Argentina meeting Germany in the World Cup final, the Vatican on Friday brushed aside talk of soccer rivalry…

NFL

Which Jets player has the best odds at…

Metro New York asked Bovada.LV to rank the top three contenders for the NFL MVP on the Jets.

World Cup

Argentina prevails in penalties, advances to final

The drama never seems to subside as the World Cup finally has its final two.

MLB

A Joffrey Ballet dancer threw the most beautiful…

http://youtu.be/Hg61JOZJrYM?t=29s While asked to throw a first pitch at a baseball game can be a treacherous and/or embarrassing experience (see Cent, 50), sometimes everything can…

Wellbeing

This Week in Health: Sexual headaches can be…

Sexual headaches: an under-discussed health issue Location: U.S. Results: If getting frisky brings on a headache, you’re not alone. Headaches associated with sexual activity represent a…

Food

Head to FiDi for free Chia Pods from…

They may have been last summer's darlings, but chia seeds have definitely not gone out of style. A great source of omega-3 fatty acids, they…

Wellbeing

Stop thinking your diabetes risk begins above a…

When it comes to diabetes research, a new study says black and Asian adults may be at risk for developing diabetes at a lower weight…

Food

Christian Siriano inspires Magnum's color-blocked dessert

Christian Siriano, chef Andrew Carmellini and Magnum team up to create "America's Most Fashionable Chocolate Dessert."