Photo credit: Israel Burshatin
Richard Torchia is director of Arcadia University Art Gallery, Glenside, where, since 1997, he has organized solo exhibitions for Ai Weiwei, Dave Allen, Francis Cape, Olafur Eliasson, Amy Hauft, Keith Haring, Candida Höfer, Paul Ramirez Jonas, Donald Moffett, William Larson, and Kay Rosen, among others. Often working in collaboration, he has organized thematic group exhibitions exploring subjects such as the childhood drawings of contemporary artists, nearly imperceptible art works, the sited gesture, photorealist painting, hand-drawn maps, and contemporary images of the sea and sky.
Recent publishing and writing efforts include catalog essays for Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller’s Pandemonium (at Eastern State Penitentiary, 2005), Gabriel Martinez (Samson Gallery, Boston, 2008), and Winifred Lutz (Abington Art Center, 2012). He also edited the first monographs for Philadelphia-based artists Tristin Lowe and Bill Walton, both published by Arcadia in 2007. Working with a team of interns and volunteers, in 2010 he edited an historical index of Philadelphia-based artist-run spaces (from 1969 to the present) that was included in a publication marking the 21st anniversary of Vox Populi, the city’s oldest cooperative.
A graduate of Holy Cross College (Worcester, MA) with a BA in English, Torchia’s interest in the photocopier as an artist’s tool led to his first curatorial project, a group survey for the Princeton Art Museum (1983). From 1985 to 1987 he directed City Without Walls in Newark, New Jersey, the state’s oldest artist-run space. He relocated to Philadelphia in 1987 to become the inaugural curator of the Levy Gallery for the Arts in Philadelphia at Moore College of Art and Design, a position he held until 1995. During his tenure there he organized over forty exhibitions featuring the work of Philadelphia-based artists, including projects for Kocot & Hatton, Mei-Ling Hom, and Stacy Levy, as well as a retrospective for Philadelphia native William Anastasi (in conjunction with John Cage’s “Rolywholyover A Circus” at the Philadelphia Museum of Art). Group exhibitions for the gallery examined subjects such as the relationship between art making and housekeeping, the collection and display of everyday objects, drawing and painting on found surfaces, and the persistence of the monochrome canvas.