Installation view of Temple Contemporary's reFORM exhibition, 2015. Photo by Constance Mensh.
Temple Contemporary's Center-funded reFORM project, on view through May 2016 at Tyler School of Art, continues to garner national and regional media attention, including a New York Times feature. The project commissioned Pew Fellow Pepón Osorio (2006) to collaborate with former Fairhill Elementary School students, families, and community members to create an immersive installation and discussion space responding to the 2013 closing of Fairhill.
"The [exhibition] space is filled with familiar equipment like lockers, books, and desks—80 percent of which comes from the school itself—but also includes written and oral testimony about the closure and its wrenching effect on students," wrote Jon Hurdle for The New York Times. Hurdle highlighted the students' contributions as being "among the most eloquent components" of the installation at Tyler School of Art. "There is a sense of allowing [the students] to be able to say what they think is important right there in the moment. They had control; I wasn't filtering," explained Osorio in The Times.
For The Philadelphia Inquirer, Kristen A. Graham spoke to a number of Fairhill students about the project. "What appeals to [Chelsey Velez, a former Fairhill student] about Osorio's project is the idea of preserving what the school meant to her and to the community," Graham wrote. "I want to spread the word about what Fairhill was, what it used to be, how it was a family," Velez is quoted in the article. "It's a loss, but we can learn from it."
Ana Gamboa interviewed Osorio for Al Dia and described reFORM as "an art installation that goes deep into the social and emotional effects of displacement." Generocity's Mo Manklang wrote that "Temple Contemporary is giving a voice to the now silent school halls."
On the occasion of reFORM's opening, The ArtBlog's Lianna Patch highlighted Osorio's 2004 exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, and shared her affinity for the artist's practice. "We've long been fans of artist Pepón Osorio, whose talent for transforming spaces stunned us...Osorio's new project, reFORM, [provides] a chance to feel a sense of Fairhill community."