Category Archives: African American Art

Modern Times

Modern Times - Thomas Hart Benton - BurlesqueBurlesque, c. 1922, by Thomas Hart Benton, American, 1889 – 1975. Tempera on panel, 9 1/2x 12 1/2 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Edward Suckle, M.D., 2002-91-1. © T. H. Benton and R. P. Benton Testamentary Trusts / UMB Bank Trustee / Licensed by VAGA, New York.

Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950, Philadelphia Museum of Art

Exhibition dates: April 18—September 3, 2018

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is presenting an exhibition exploring the creative responses of American artists to the rapid pace of change that occurred in this country during the early decades of the twentieth century. Modern Times: American Art 1910–1950 examines the new and dynamic visual language that emerged during this period and had a dramatic impact on painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, architecture, and the decorative arts. These developments were shaped by the dizzying transformations then occurring in every aspect of life, from the advent of the automobile and moving pictures to the rapid growth of American cities and the wrenching economic change brought on by the advent of the Great Depression after a decade of unprecedented prosperity. The exhibition features important works by those artists—Georgia O’Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove, and John Marin, among them—championed by the great photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, as well as many other notable figures of this period. Modern Times is drawn almost entirely from the Museum’s renowned collection, especially the gift from the Stieglitz Collection that it received in the late 1940s, and contains 156 works, several of which will be on view for the first time.

Modern Times, Alexander Calder, Portrait of Carl ZigrosserPortrait of Carl Zigrosser (1891 – 1975), c. 1928, by Alexander Calder, American, 1898 – 1976. wire, 14 x 10 1/2 x 10 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund from the Carl and Laura Zigrosser Collection, 1980-3-141. © Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Timothy Rub, the Museum’s George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, stated: “America’s embrace of modern life—its perils as well as its promise—in the early twentieth century was expressed most clearly in the arts. The work of this period still feels fresh and of the moment. This exhibition provides us with a welcome opportunity to reassess the Museum’s exceptionally rich holdings of modern American art and how we may display them to full advantage in the future when the Museum completes its expansion under its Master Plan. It also holds the promise of many surprises and discoveries for our visitors.”

Modern Times, Stuart Davis, Something on the Eight BallSomething on the Eight Ball, 1953-1954, by Stuart Davis, American, 1892 – 1964. Oil on canvas, 56 × 45 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Adele Haas Turner and Beatrice Pastorius Turner Memorial Fund, 1954-30-1. © Estate of Stuart Davis / Licensed by VAGA, New York.

While the Museum has presented a number of exhibitions devoted to this subject over the years, Modern Times is the largest and most comprehensive since it presented the collection of Alfred Stieglitz in 1944. The exhibition opens with the achievements of some of the leading figures of “The Eight,” including John Sloan and George Bellows, who recorded the changing urban scene with a gritty realism as horse carts gave way to motor vehicles on city streets.

Modern Times, Beauford Delaney, Portrait of James BaldwinPortrait of James Baldwin, 1945, by Beauford Delaney, American (active Paris), 1901 – 1979. Oil on canvas, 22 x 18 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: 125th Anniversary Acquisition. Purchased with funds contributed by The Daniel W. Dietrich Foundation in memory of Joseph C. Bailey and with a grant from The Judith Rothschild Foundation, 1998-3-1

The exhibition emphasizes those artists—among them Charles Demuth, Morton Schamberg, Charles Sheeler, Benton Spruance, and Paul Strand—who responded to the Armory Show of 1913 and the influence of the European avant garde by seeking to give modernism an authentic American voice. Offering a broader perspective on American art of this period, the exhibition explores the achievements of important African American figures, such as Aaron Douglas, William Edmondson, Horace Pippin and Dox Thrash. It also looks at cross-currents within the arts, including contemporary fashion and design, and work by female artists such as O’Keeffe, Florine Stettheimer, Frances Simpson Stevens, Kay Sage, and Dorothea Tanning.

Modern Times, Charles Demuth, Lancaster (In the Province No. 2)Lancaster (In the Province No. 2), 1920, by Charles Demuth, American, 1883 – 1935. Oil on canvas, 30 x 16 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950-5-1.

One section of the exhibition takes a close look at the many artists who explored in their work the abstract qualities of rhythm, light, and sound. Some of their aesthetic strategies were employed to create dynamic still lifes, enlivening what was commonly considered a static genre. Another section explores the expressive use of color, focusing on Arthur Beecher Carles, Henry Breckenridge, and Henry McCarter who stretched the boundaries of artistic tradition by relieving color of its purely descriptive function. These three artists, each of whom lived and worked in Philadelphia, reflected this city’s active engagement with progressive trends in American art. In fact, the significant role that Philadelphia played in the history of American modernism is echoed throughout the exhibition. It includes works by Philadelphia-born artists such as Man Ray and Alexander Calder who became prominent abroad, where they were closely aligned with modern movements in Europe, and others who remained in the city in which the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts provided a center of energy and a place to teach.

Modern Times, Aaron Doulgas, Birds in FlightBirds in Flight, c. 1927-1929, by Aaron Douglas, American, 1899 – 1979. Oil on canvas, 16 1/4 x 14 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest in honor of Anne d’Harnoncourt, 2015-7-1. © Heirs of Aaron Douglas / Licensed by VAGA, New York

Modern Times, Arthur Dove, Chinese MusicChinese Music, 1923, by Arthur Dove, American, 1880 -1946. Oil and metallic paint on panel, 21 11/16 x 18 1/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-2.

Landscape painting was, likewise, revolutionized by the artists of this generation, who found in this traditional genre a sustained source of inspiration. The adaptation of the modernist vision to one of the most enduring themes in American art can be seen most dramatically in works by O’Keeffe, Hartley, and Arthur Dove. Others, such as Sheeler, took the stark, yet impressive geometry of the new industrial landscape as a point of departureThe exhibition also examines another familiar subject, the human figure, which proved to be of abiding interest to the artists of this generation. Included in this rich and fascinating section is a group of portraits by artists such as Milton Avery, Beauford Delaney, and John Graham.

Modern Times, Wharton Esherick, Of a Great CityOf a Great City, 1923, by Wharton H. Esherick, American, 1887 – 1970. Wood engraving, image: 9 15/16 x 6 5/16 inches, sheet: 11 7/16 x 7 1/2 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund from the Carl and Laura Zigrosser Collection, 1979-12-11.

Modern Times, Marsden Hartley, Painting No 4 (Black Horse)Painting No. 4 (A Black Horse), 1915, by Marsden Hartley, American, 1877 -1943. Oil on canvas, 39 1/4 x 31 5/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-8

Jessica Todd Smith, The Susan Gray Detweiler Curator of American Art, and Manager, Center for American Art, who organized the exhibition, said: “Modernism changed the way people saw the world around them. Artists pushed their work in new directions, embracing abstraction, while retaining connections to artistic traditions. This exhibition focuses on interrelationships among works of art rather than a single linear narrative. In fact, it gives voice to multiple narratives because the evolution and experimentation in the art of this period is especially fluid. This stylistic pluralism, the beautiful chaos of innovation, was a hallmark of the modern American movement.”

 Modern Times, Alice Neel, Portrait of John with HatPortrait of John with Hat, 1935, by Alice Neel, American, 1900 – 1984. Oil on canvas, 23 1/2 x 21 1/2 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of the estate of Arthur M. Bullowa, 1993-119-2.

Modern Times, Georgia O'Keeffe, Red and Orange StreakRed and Orange Streak, 1919, by Georgia O’Keeffe, American, 1887 – 1986. Oil on canvas, 27 x 23 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Georgia O’Keeffe for the Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1987-70-3.

Publication

The exhibition is accompanied by a new publication, American Modernism: Highlights from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, by Jessica Todd Smith. It is published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in association with Yale University Press ( 272 pp.) The title of the essay, “Seeing Takes Time” is inspired by a quotation of Georgia O’Keeffe: “Nobody sees a flower—really—it is so small—we haven’t time—and to see takes time . . . “

Modern Times, Georgia O'Keeffe, Red Hills and BonesRed Hills and Bones, 1943, by Georgia O’Keeffe, American, 1887 – 1986. Oil on canvas, 29 3/4 x 40 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-109.

Modern Times, Georgia O'Keeffe, From the Lake No. 3From the Lake No. 3, 1924, by Georgia O’Keeffe, American, 1887 – 1986. Oil on canvas, 36 x 30 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Georgia O’Keeffe for the Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1987-70-2.

With 120 color and 10 black-and-white illustrations, American Modernism is the first book to showcase this outstanding aspect of the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which was one of the first major museums in this country to acquire what we now call American Modernism. It tells a story that is unique to the Museum, examining the collection’s development since the 1920s and the role that the city of Philadelphia played in promoting modernism in the first half of the twentieth century. While previous publications have focused on European and American modernism, this one considers what it meant to be American and to be modern, exploring how these artists challenged convention without abandoning recognizable elements from the world around them.

Modern Times, Horace Pippin, The GetawayThe Getaway, 1939, by Horace Pippin, American, 1888 – 1946. Oil on canvas, 24 5/8 x 36 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Daniel W. Dietrich II, 2016-3-3.

Modern Times, Man Ray, A.D. 1914A.D. 1914, 1914, by May Ray, American, 1890 – 1976. Oil on canvas, 36 7/8 x 69 3/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: A. E. Gallatin Collection, 1944-90-1.

In addition to focusing on internationally acclaimed artists from the circle of photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, including Arthur Dove, Marsden Hartley, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Charles Sheeler, Smith also considers those who contributed significantly to the art of the United States during their day but have been left outside the mainstream of art history, whether due to their race, gender, or social standing.

Modern Times, Charles Sheeler, Pertaining to Yachts and YachtingPertaining to Yachts and Yachting, 1922, by Charles Sheeler, American, 1883 – 1965. Oil on canvas, 20 x 24 1/16 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Margaretta S. Hinchman, 1955-96-9.

American Modernism: Highlights from the Philadelphia Museum of Art is now available online via philamuseum.org or in the Museum Store (paper-over-board, $35).

Modern Times, John Sloan, Sixth Avenue and Thirtieth StreetSixth Avenue and Thirtieth Street, 1907, by John Sloan, American, 1871 – 1951. Oil on canvas, 24 1/4 x 32 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Meyer P. Potamkin and Vivian O. Potamkin, 2000. 1964-116-5.

Modern Times, John Sloan, The White WayThe White Way, c. 1926, by John Sloan, American, 1871 – 1951. Oil on canvas, 30 1/8 x 32 1/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Mrs. Cyrus McCormick, 1946-10-2.

Exhibition Location

Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, first floor

 Modern Times, Alfred Stieglitz, The City of AmbitionThe City of Ambition, 1910 (negative); c. 1930 (print), by Alfred Stieglitz, American, 1871 – 1944. Gelatin silver print, image/sheet/mount: 4 1/4 x 3 3/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Alfred Stieglitz Collection, 1949-18-47.

Modern Times, Paul Strand, The Court, New YorkThe Court, New York, 1924 (negative); 1960s (print), by Paul Strand, American, 1890 – 1976. Gelatin silver print, image (sight): 9 1/2 x 7 7/16 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: The Paul Strand Retrospective Collection, 1915 – 1975, gift of the estate of Paul Strand, 1980-21-42.

Support

This exhibition has been made possible by The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, The Annenberg Foundation Fund for Major Exhibitions, The Kathleen C. and John J. F. Sherrerd Fund for Exhibitions, Lyn M. Ross, Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest, The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund, The Laura and William C. Buck Endowment for Exhibitions, Leslie Miller and Richard Worley, and two anonymous donors.

Modern Times, Florine Stettheimer, Spring Sale at Bendel'sModern Times, Dox Thrash, DemolitionDemolition, c. 1944, by Dox Thrash, American, 1893 – 1965. Oil on canvas board, 26 x 20 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Katharine Levin Farrell Fund, 2002-97-1.

Exhibition-related education programming was generously supported by the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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We are Philadelphia’s art museum. A landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

Modern Times, Lloyd Ullberg, PSFS Building, PhiladelphiaPSFS Building, Philadelphia, c.1932 – 1933, by Lloyd Ullberg, American, 1904-1996. Gelatin silver print, image and sheet:10 x 7 3/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Purchased with the Lola Downin Peck Fund, 1999-121-3.

Modern Times, Artist-maker unknown, Cocktail Shaker with HandleCocktail Shaker with Handle, c.1930s, Artist/maker unknown, American. Chromium, Bakelite, 12 x 6 3/4 x 4 1/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Martina Schaap Yamin, 2013-28-66a,b.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call 215-763-8100.

Thank you to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the content of this post. Click the images for large pictures.

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Celebrate

PHILADELPHIA CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY MONTH

Exhibitions, Performances and Special Program Highlight Philly’s Month of Activities

The African American Museum in Philadelphia

Founded in 1976, The African American Museum in Philadelphia (above) is the first institution built by a major U.S. city to preserve, interpret and exhibit the heritage and culture of African-Americans.

Credit: Photo by J. Fusco for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

Black History Month celebrates its 42nd anniversary this year, and Philadelphia honors the occasion with special events, exhibitions, film screenings and family activities. Philadelphia’s Black History Month features the nation’s longest running African American Children’s Book Fair; Black Pulp!, a new exhibition at The African American Museum in Philadelphia, and Henry “Box” Brown: The Musical, starringDice Raw. Here are highlights of Philly’s Black History Month:

Museum Happenings:

  • The African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) hosts the regional debut of Black Pulp!, curated by William Villalongo and Mark Thomas Gibson. This visual overview offers up printed works by artists, graphic designers, writer and publishers—including comic books—to examine perspectives on Black identity from 1912 to 2016. February 2 – April 29701 Arch Street(215) 574-0380aampmuseum.org
  • The Art Sanctuary exhibition Philadelphia Renaissance, curated by Noah Smalls, is an intergenerational showcase of area artists. The month-long display is in keeping with the gallery’s mission to “use power of Black art to transform individuals, create and build community and foster cultural understanding.” February. 628 S. 16th Street, (215) 232-4485artsanctuary.org
  • African-American history is American history, and the National Constitution Center celebrates Black History Month with programming that includes Breaking Barriers, a show about the lives of Bessie Coleman, Jackie Robinson, Thurgood Marshall and other pioneering African-Americans. The center has planned also a workshop to taks a closer look at the Emancipation Proclamation and self-guided tours highlighting African-American history. February 2018. 525 Arch Street(215) 409-6600constitutioncenter.org
  • Penn Museums 29th annual Celebration of African Cultures features storytellers, artists, puppetry, art making, modern African dance, traditional African music and an African market. The setting for this activity: the African Gallery, with its rich collection of textiles, sculpture and masks, with statuary and tomb materials from 5,000 years of Egyptian culture in the Egyptian Galleries. February 24. 3260 South Street(215) 898-4000penn.museum
  • Last year, City Hall unveiled a new statue of Civil Rights hero Ocatvius V. Catto. This year, the Philadelphia History Museum exhibit Taking a Stand for Equity: Octavius V. Catto continues to celebrate the life and many achievements of the brave 19th-century Philadelphian. Through March 3115 S. 7th Street, (215) 685-4830philadelphiahistory.org
  • Niama Safia Sandy makes her Philadelphia curatorial debut at Rush Arts Philadelphia with the multi-artist, multidisciplinary exhibition Giving Up The Ghost: Artifacts/A Study of Power and Solidarity Against White Violence in ModernityThe diverse artists and pieces in the show offer varying messages of individual and cultural truths—American aversion to recognizing Black women’s labor; commentary on the treatment of Muslim Americans, for example—in an effort to clear the air and move the nation forward. January 27-February 244954 Old York Roadrushphilanthropic.org

Music & Dance:

  • Henry Box Brown: The Musical stars The Roots’ own hip hop legend Karl “Dice Raw” Jenkins in the title role of a Virginia slave who escaped to freedom in Philadelphia by mailing himself in a wooden crate. This true theatrical treat is directed by Phill Brown and also stars Minister Jamie Knight and Gina Zo. February 1-17. Community College, Bonnell Auditorium, 1700 Spring Garden Streethenryboxbrownmusical.com
  • Visitors can enjoy free, live, no reservations-required world music as presented by Temple University students during Drumming Traditions of Brazil, West Africa, and India. February 6. Temple Performing Arts Center, 1837 N. Broad Street(215) 204-9860templeperformingartscenter.org
  • In the 1930s, over 2,300 first-person accounts by former slaves—The Slave Narratives—helped create the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP). This Manayunk performance of six of these documents—also entitled The Slave Narratives—brings their experiences to life onstage. Venice Island Performing Arts & Recreation Center. February 9. 7 Lock Street(215) 685-3583veniceisland.org
  • Vocalist Beverly Owens and pianist Diane Goldsmith join in a “Sundays on Stage” concert of The Art of Sarah Vaughanatribute to one of the first singers to fully incorporate bop phrasing in her singing. Vaughan’s influence is still evident in contemporary jazz, Soul and R&B. February 11. Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Branch, 1901 Vine Street(215) 686-5322freelibrary.org

Children and Young Adults:

  • The 26th Annual African American Children’s Book Fair is one of the oldest and largest single-day events for African-American children’s books in the country. The free, open-to-the-public fair features nationally known, bestselling authors, illustrators and author-illustrators, many who have won some of the most prestigious American Library Association awards, including the Coretta Scott King Award. Guests can expect an afternoon filled with workshops, giveaways and affordable books for purchase. February 3. Community College of Philadelphia, 17th & Spring Garden Streets, theafricanamericanchildrensbookproject.org
  • As the first stop for many visitors to Independence National Historical Park, the Independence Visitor Center is more than an information center: It’s a gathering spot. During Black History Month, historical figures appear to tell their stories. 6th & Market Streets, (800) 537-7676nps.gov/indephlvisitorcenter.com
    • A historical re-enactor portrays Ned Hector, free Black patriot who refused to surrender his horses, wagons and armaments in the Battle of the Brandywine. February 10.
    • Storytellers from summer’s Once Upon a Nation program return for WinterStorytelling, with true tales of barrier-breaking African-Americans. February 16, 17, 19.
    • Harriet Tubman, American hero and icon, makes this one-time appearance to tell of her life and bravery in leading hundreds of people to freedom. February 24.
  • The Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library Children’s Department will offer family-friendly events covering African-American heritage. 125 S. 52nd Street, (215) 685-7422freelibrary.org
    • Based on the book by Christopher Paul Curtis, The Watsons Go to Birminghamis the film adaptation of the story of an African-American family’s road trip from Flint, Michigan to Birmingham, Alabama in 1963—and the tragic events that take place. For children ages 12 and under and their families. February 24.
    • The Art of Jean-Michel Basquiat: Share Your Creativity invites visitors to enjoy a reading of Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe and Life Doesn’t Frighten Me by Maya Angelou, illustrated by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Inspired participants can add their creations to the Young Artists’ Wall. For ages 12 and under. February 28.

Movies, Stories, Talks &Tours:

  • Murray Dubin and Daniel Biddle, co-authors of Tasting FreedomOctavius Catto and the Battle for Equality in Civil War Americapresent and sign copies of their book chronicling the life of this charismatic Black leader—a “free” man whose freedom was in name only. February 6. Free Library of Philadelphia,Philadelphia City Institute Branch, 1905 Locust Street(215) 685-6621freelibrary.org
  • Lauded by the New York Times for his “ferocious moral vision and astute intellect,” educator and philosopher Dr. Cornel West returns to Philadelphia on the 25th anniversary of the National Book Award-winning Race MattersFebruary 10. Sold out; simulcast tickets are available for purchase. Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Branch, 1901 Vine Street(215) 686-5404freelibrary.org
  • The Blackwell Regional Library will screen Paul Robeson, a documentary about the internationally acclaimed singer, actor and Civil Rights activist. Despite his talent, his political views lead to blacklisting; while unemployed, he moved to the West Philadelphia home of his sister Marian, who tended him until his death in 1976. February 17. 125 S. 52nd Street, (215) 685-7433freelibrary.org
  • As part of Black History Month and Philly Theatre Week, 202-year-old Mother Bethel AME screens Black Theatre: The Making of a Movement, Woodie King Jr.’s documentary highlighting accomplishments of Black men and women in theater, the importance of the Black Arts Movement and the funding crisis of Black theaters. February 18. 419 S. 6th Street, theatrephiladelphia.org
  • Praised by Michael Eric Dyson as “the boldest young feminist writing today,” Brittney Cooper will join in conversation with Melanye Price, associate professor of Africana Studies at Rutgers University, to discuss Cooper’s new book, Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her SuperpowerFebruary 22. Free. Free Library of Philadelphia, Parkway Central Branch, 1901 Vine Street(215) 686-5404freelibrary.org
  • Now in its 22nd year, the Schomburg Symposium is an annual Taller Puertorriqueñoconference dedicated to Afro-Latino history and culture. This year’s symposium theme: Does Violence Have Color? February 24. 2600 N. 5th Street, (215) 426-3311tallerpr.org
  • The William Way LGBT Community Center’s second annual Philly Black Trans History: A Multigenerational Panel Discussionwill feature some of the city’s most influential trans pioneers. February 28.1315 Spruce Street(215) 732-2220waygay.org

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Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com make up the most-visited website network out of the 10 biggest U.S. cities. Visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

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Assembled

Philadelphia AssembledCity is Stage for Philadelphia Assembled

April through December 2017

Beginning in late April, a project entitled Philadelphia Assembled will manifest in a series of activities and actions throughout the city to illuminate and amplify a broad set of hopes, visions, and questions about Philadelphia’s future. Initiated by artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, working alongside an extensive network of collaborators—among them artists, writers, builders, storytellers, gardeners, healers, and activists—Philadelphia Assembled aims to shape a collective narrative about our city and some of the most urgent issues it faces at a time of heightened transformation. Deeply integrated into the fabric of the Museum, the project also questions the place of this institution in the midst of this change.

Philadelphia Assembled

Following this spring season of city-wide programs, the project will culminate in an exhibition opening in September at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. This participatory installation, September 10 through December 10, 2017, will transform the Perelman Building’s ground floor galleries, café, and store into spaces that will celebrate the people, sights, sounds, and tastes of a resilient city’s multi-faceted identity. Admission will be Pay What You Wish.

Evocatively referred to as “atmospheres of democracy”, Philadelphia Assembled addresses a number of issues that are central to the future the city by focusing on key themes such as reconstructions—how we deal with questions of social displacement and reentry into society; sovereignty—how we define self-determination and autonomy; sanctuary—how we understand self-care, asylum, and refuge; futures—how to re-imagine our tomorrow; and movement—how we facilitate action and collective learning.

Philadelphia Assembled

Van Heeswijk’s work, which is often described as social practice or socially engaged art, combines art and activism. In this spirit, the project brings together voices of those who care about the changing landscape of Philadelphia and who, in life and work, seek to champion and secure a prosperous and equitable future for all of its citizens.

Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and CEO, stated, “Some of the most interesting work being done by artists today straddles the boundary between art and life.  In 2013, we invited the Dutch artist Jeanne van Heeswijk to consider what an artist might do in engaging Philadelphia’s many neighborhoods and diverse communities. What began as a conversation has grown, and it has been fascinating—and rewarding—to watch Philadelphia Assembled take on a life of its own. We are looking forward to the moment when our galleries are appropriated to become a stage for the city itself. It promises to be exciting and full of surprises and presents an opportunity to consider how we might define the roles and responsibilities that the Philadelphia Museum of Art can play as a civic institution in a changing city in the 21st century.”

Denise Valentine, a collaborator and Philadelphia storyteller, reflected on this process: “We intend to re-imagine the Philadelphia Museum of Art as a place to unearth stories hidden deep in the soil of Philadelphia. We envision a place where narratives of the enslaved, the incarcerated, the displaced, and the disenfranchised are held in as high esteem as Eurocentric ideas about art, history, and culture.”

Philadelphia Assembled

The project’s five “atmospheres” are described below:

Reconstructions

This atmosphere will assemble personal and collective narratives of mass incarceration and gentrification. Its first site, in the Nicetown/Tioga neighborhood, will be realized in close collaboration with Reconstructions, Inc. and the Alumni Ex Offenders Association. This group will offer programs exploring concepts of home, healing and trauma in relationship to imprisonment and reentry, including a teach-in and a neighborhood-wide procession. At a second site, in South Kensington/Olde Kensington, collaborators are examining the impact of gentrification and displacement, working with the Women’s Community Revitalization Project and Healthy Rowhouse Project to re-imagine a community garden at 4th and Master Streets as a dynamic space for discussion.

Philadelphia Assembled

Sovereignty

Exploring the concepts of self-determination and autonomy, this working group is addressing land sovereignty and cooperative forms of commerce and cultural exchange. Philadelphia Assembled will create a “sovereignty room” at the African Cultural Art Forum on 52nd Street, which will serve as a dedicated space in West Philadelphia for creating unity and cultivating economic sovereignty. Established in 1969, ACAF is a community-based organization that manufactures and sells products by entrepreneurs throughout the African diaspora. In the “sovereignty room” ACAF will host skill trainings and exchanges in preparation for a large public “Sovereignty Marketplace” in June. The second site is envisioned as a network of four urban gardens located in North Philadelphia. Programming and installations across these gardens will inform the ways in which plants, seeds, and land reinforce people’s connection to ancestry and serve as vehicles for nourishment, healing, and future growth. Urban gardens involved include Urban Creators, Norris Square Neighborhood Project Gardens, Fair Hill Burial Grounds, and Stretch and Fly Youth Business Garden.

Philadelphia Assembled

Futures

The Futures atmosphere is drawing from anti-colonial ideas to model different ways of exploring the future and community building. The Futures site is an active mobile project, called the Mobile Futures Institute, which involves retro-fitting a small bus into a flexible work space that will travel throughout the city, engaging in neighborhood-based programs on issues ranging from decolonization, to environmental racism, to economic justice. Collaborators are working with community members and organizations to produce events and happenings via the Mobile Futures Institute. Current partners include the Center for Returning Citizens, Black Quantum Futurism, Friends Center, Granny Peace Brigade Philadelphia, Norris Square Community Alliance, Mighty Writers, and the Indigenous Peoples Day Movement, among others.

Philadelphia Assembled

Sanctuary

This group has proposed a combination of sites that will explore various models of self-care, asylum, and refuge. The larger site will be realized at a central location in Center City. The site structure is a geodesic dome inspired by temporary housing units for refugees in Europe. The space will be open for a month of summer programs, offering a layered definition of sanctuary through storytelling, advocacy, and direct action. In the months leading up to the fixed site, a portable site will host a series of activities working with identified partner organizations to address the provision of LBGTQ safe spaces, issues of immigration and migration, and harm reduction relating to drug use and sex work. Partner organizations include the Attic Youth Center, New Sanctuary Movement, Prevention Point Philadelphia, and Project Safe.

Philadelphia Assembled

Movement

The final atmosphere is one in which the various Philadelphia Assembled working groups intersect. This group is focused on the project’s production, dissemination, and communication, which is manifesting in audio recordings, a dedicated film series, project-specific graphics, an interactive web platform, and site-specific publications. Another component of the Movement atmosphere is the Youth Dream Trust, which will serve as a coalition of youth across the working groups in partnership with the Village of Arts and Humanities. Working closely with Philadelphia-based collective Amber Art and Design, the group will also orchestrate the performative movement of public sites to the Museum. Carrying objects, ideas, and conversations across the city streets, this public movement will culminate in a communal presentation along the ground floor of the Perelman Building, becoming a civic stage where the city is performed.

For Jeanne van Heeswijk, Philadelphia Assembled is a forward-moving process in which she is one among many participants imagining the city’s futures together. She stated: “My work is trying to get to the essence of aesthetics, to understand it as an engaged, inclusive, and proactive practice. This type of work is about using imagination to better understand how we live together. Rising, claiming, rooting, caring, moving – this is how we build a collective exercise of care.”

Philadelphia Assembled

Members of the public are invited to join the conversation and engage with collaborators by visiting the Philadelphia Assembled website and sharing their experiences via #phlassembled @phlassembled @philamuseum.

Program Events

For a full list of public programs and locations, please visit the dedicated website at phlassembled.net. All Philadelphia Assembled programs are free to the public unless noted otherwise.

Philadelphia Assembled

About Jeanne Van Heeswijk

Jeanne van Heeswijk is an artist who facilitates the creation of dynamic and diversified public spaces in order to “radicalize the local.” Her community-embedded projects question art’s autonomy by combining performative actions, discussions, and other forms of organizing and pedagogy in order to work alongside communities to take control of their own futures. Van Heeswijk’s work has been featured in publications and exhibitions worldwide, including the Liverpool, Shanghai, and Venice biennials. Accolades include the receipt of the 2011 Leonore Annenberg Prize for Art and Social Change, the 2012 Curry Stone Prize for Social Design Pioneers, and the 2014 inaugural Keith Haring Fellowship in Art and Activism at the Center for Curatorial Studies and Human Rights Project at Bard College. She lives and works in Rotterdam and Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Assembled

About Social Practice
Social Practice is an art medium that focuses on participation and collaboration with individuals, communities, and institutions in the collective creation of a temporary or permanent community. The process involves careful listening, thoughtful conversation, and community organizing. This is also referred to as socially engaged art, social justice art, community art and new genre public art.

Sponsors

Philadelphia Assembled is made possible by the William Penn Foundation, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, Wyncote Foundation, Nancy M. Berman and Alan Bloch, Lynne and Harold Honickman, Mr. and Mrs. Milton S. Schneider, Constance and Sankey Williams, the Mondriaan Fund, and The Netherland-America Foundation.

Philadelphia Assembled

Collaborators

Philadelphia Assembled is initiated by artist Jeanne van Heeswijk and organized with Carlos Basualdo, The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Senior Curator of Contemporary Art; Amanda Sroka, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art; Phoebe Bachman, Project Coordinator; and Sheldon Abba, Project Site Manager. Core collaborators include: Amber Art and Design, artist collective; Yana Balson, Associate Director of Exhibition Planning, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Kirtrina Baxter, community organizer and activist grower; Pascale Boucicaut, culinary artist and organizer; Maurits de Bruijn, graphic designer and web developer; Counter Narrative Society (CNS); Helen Cunningham, educator and conflict mediator; Gretchen Dykstra, Senior Marketing Editor, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Morgan Gengo, Marketing and Audience Development Manager, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Shari Hersh, Mural Arts Senior Project Manager and Founder of the Restored Spaces Initiative; Russell Hicks, entrepreneur; in•site collaborative, a research, design, and mapping collective; Nehad Khader, film curator and artist; Jason Killinger, graphic designer; Dianne Loftis, researcher and compiler; Charlotte Lowrey, Project Assistant for the Contemporary Caucus, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Zein Nakhoda, filmmaker; Michael O’Bryan, artist and youth facilitator; People’s Paper Co-op, a collaborative initiative for re-entry; Elisabeth Perez-Luna, journalist and public broadcasting producer; Damon Reaves, Associate Curator of Education, Community Engagement and Access, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Chris Rogers, educator and organizer; Kristin Schwab, community cook and organizer; 75B, design collective; Traction Company, artist collaborative studio; Denise Valentine, storyteller and activist; Phantazia Washington, LGBTQ activist and facilitator; A. M. Weaver, artist and curator; Gee Wesley, artist and curator; Jared Wood, artist; Karina Wratschko, Special Projects Librarian, Philadelphia Museum of Art; and Billy Yalowitz, playwright and community-based performance artist.

Community Partners and Program Hosts

African Cultural Art Forum, Alumni Ex-Offenders Association, The Attic Youth Center, Broad Street Ministry, The Center for Returning Citizens, Coalition for Racial Justice (CoRaJus), Community Futurisms: Time & Memory in North Philly (Community Futures Lab), The Culinary Enterprise Center, Deep Green Philly, The Enterprise Center, Experimental Farm Network, Healthy Rowhouse Project, Historic Fair Hill, Laos in the House, Mighty Writers, MOVE, Mural Arts Philadelphia, New Sanctuary Movement Philadelphia, Norris Square Neighborhood Project, North Central CDC, Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance, Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, Philadelphia Coalition for Affordable Communities, Prevention Point Philadelphia, Project SAFE, Reconstruction Inc., Soil Generation, Take Back the Night Philadelphia, Ulises, Urban Creators-Life Do Grow Farm, The Village of Arts and Humanities, W/N W/N, and the Women’s Community Revitalization Project.

Locations

In the City: April – July 2017

Movement to the Museum: July – August 2017

Perelman Building, ground floor: September 10–December 10, 2017

Philadelphia Assembled is a project undertaken in collaboration with stakeholders from across the city and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The views expressed by individual participants or in materials developed as part of Philadelphia Assembled are representative of the project’s collective conception and production and are not, necessarily, the views of the Museum or any other individual involved.

Social Media
Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/Tumblr/YouTube: @philamuseum @phlassembled

We are Philadelphia’s art museum. We are a landmark building. A world-renowned collection. A place that welcomes everyone. We bring the arts to life, inspiring visitors—through scholarly study and creative play—to discover the spirit of imagination that lies in everyone. We connect people with the arts in rich and varied ways, making the experience of the Museum surprising, lively, and always memorable. We are committed to inviting visitors to see the world—and themselves—anew through the beauty and expressive power of the arts.

For additional information, contact the Communications Department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art phone at 215-684-7860, by fax at 215-235-0050, or by e-mail at pressroom@philamuseum.org.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art is located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway at 26th Street. For general information, call (215) 763-8100.

Thank you to the Philadelphia Museum of Art for the content of this post.

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ID8

Holiday Bazaar, ID8

IDEATE Holiday Bazaar, Art Show and Sale

IDEATE, Sherman Mills Art Center, 3502 Scotts Lane, building 16, suite 1616, East Falls, PA.

Saturday, December 17th, 10:00am – 4:00pm

Participating artists include award winners, Jameir Andrews, Tyrike Brown, Alonzo Troy Humphrey, Oranit Solomonov and musician Mel G. The IDEATErs having been preparing holiday themed gifts, greeting cards, artwork, housewares, furniture and even a new music CD for this festive open studio.

Jameir Andrews is an award winning painter, creating vibrant colorful abstract patterns on canvas. His recognizable style has gained him a strong following, if you’re a collector, now is a great opportunity to expand your collection or start a new one. Jamier’s body of work is expansive – buy several for a great art display for your home.

IDEATE Holiday Bazaar Art Sale

Tyrike Brown is a poet. The poignant emotion and sentiment his words express are printed on unique custom greeting cards with a distinct esthetic of an old soul in a youthful man. Not only does Tyrike write, he works with Illustrator to create designs that are then cut into rich papers with delightful surprises peaking through the openings.

IDEATE Holiday Bazaar Art Sale

Alonzo Troy Humphrey is currently showing work in three downtown galleries but currently his solo show, SCORE!!!, installed in the studio represents a career spanning exhibition of his drawings installed and curated by head IDEATEr Kaelynne. Alonzo’s work includes African, Southern, transportation and animal themed artworks. But his drawings of figures of the Black Cowboy, the lady in the rocking chair and African chiefs are mesmerizing. If you’re a collector now is the time to buy since everything is less than $20.! Alonzo’s greeting cards depicting happy or grumpy Santa are signed and numbered, perfect for framing. Or give them to your kids to color.

IDEATE Holiday Bazaar Art Sale

Oranit Solomonov is an award winning outsider artist who has created a series of hand colored Hanukkah cards that are very special and suitable for framing. The holiday cards are limited edition, signed and numbered and would make great gifts that your friends will cherish. Oranit has created custom decorated Mary Jane slippers that are one of a kind. Stylish prints, drawings and paintings are for sale, too.

IDEATE Holiday Bazaar Art Sale

Artwork and crafts by members of the IDEATE team will be on display, exhibiting the skills, talents and empathic abilities of the extraordinary group that makes the world of art more open and welcoming than you can imagine.

Located in Sherman Mills Art Center the team of Social Practice artists referred to as IDEATErs turn career goals into real work. The studio/office serves as a hub towards including artists with cognitive disabilities in the wider community by running an art business. The talented team helps to develop inherent artistic talents for those who want to work in the world of art. Art is a hard job, it’s not just about creating beautiful work, getting the artwork in front of the public takes a team willing to take risks and push boundaries.

“IDEATE is an inclusive employment organization dedicated to providing trauma-informed support to individuals with barriers to getting and sustaining earning opportunities. Our mission is to support our clients to identify and retain person-tailored occupations. We want to redefine “work,” one person at a time while leveling the playing field using technology. In order to support our clients in person-tailored work, our fundamental approach focuses on empowerment, choice, safety, trustworthiness, and collaboration. We seek to identify any barriers and overcome them by building inclusive employment solutions. Our practice is designed to support self-actualization and inclusion. We do this by offering support in community-based employment, including customized employment, alternative staffing, a deep-dive into technology-based accommodations and the development of formalized innovative practices wherein the individuals can cultivate natural supports especially in careers where our participants are under-represented.” – RHD

Visit IDEATE at Sherman Mills, your holidays will be happier and happier.

Written by DoN Brewer

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American

AFRICAN-AMERICAN ART IN PHILLYMartin Luther King, Jr., 1981, by John Woodrow Wilson (Philadelphia Museum of Art: 125th Anniversary Acquisition. Purchased with funds contributed by the Young Friends of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Museum and in celebration of African American art © John Wilson/Licensed by VAGA, New York Credit: Courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art

Bringing together more than 75 works from the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s extensive collection of art by African Americans, Represent: 200 Years of African-American Art displays works by 50 artists, including Henry Ossawa Tanner, Horace Pippin, Jacob Lawrence, Alma Thomas, Martin Puryear, Carrie Mae Weems and others. Highlighted by Tanner’s iconic painting The Annunciation, the exhibition features a wide range of items such as pre-Civil War-era decorative pottery, early 20th-century paintings and photography, sculpture and portraits. It runs through April 5, 2015.

In 2015, Philadelphia museums will mount six major exhibitions featuring some of the most celebrated African-American artists, further adding to the city’s reputation as one of the world’s great art centers. In addition to the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s special exhibition Represent: 200 Years of African American Art, featuring dozens of works from its collections, art lovers can take in the Brandywine Museum of Art’s landmark exhibition Horace Pippin: The Way I See It. Adding to the trove of artistic treasures is As We See It: Selected Works from the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection, coming to the African American Museum in Philadelphia, along with shows at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Woodmere Art Museum.

After touring these special exhibitions, visitors can discover the array of African and African-American art in the permanent collections at many institutions around town. Here’s a look at the exhibits and museums worth exploring this year especially:

Special Exhibitions:

  • With work by renowned artists such as Henry Ossawa Tanner, Horace Pippin, Jacob Lawrence, Martin Puryear and Carrie Mae Weems, Represent: 200 Years of African American Art showcases a range of subjects, styles, mediums and traditions. Since acquiring Tanner’s The Annunciation painting in 1899, the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s collection of African-American art has grown significantly, especially during the last three decades, and much of it will be on display in this exhibit. January 10-April 5, 2015. 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org
  • The African American Museum in Philadelphia presents two major art exhibitions this year. Masterpieces by such luminaries as Edward BannisterHenry Ossawa Tanner and Elizabeth Catlett sit alongside works by school children who have been influenced by them during As We See It: Selected Works from the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection. February 5-March 21, 2015. In the spring, the museum explores the artistic side of Danny Simmons, who is best known as a writer, producer and Tony winner for his Broadway version of Def Poetry Jam. The United Nations and the Smithsonian count his art in their collections. Selected Works from the Danny Simmons Collection features Simmons’ art works and poetry, as well as items from his own collection (Beauford Delaney, James Van Der Zee, Mickalene Thomas, Sol Sax, Derrick Adams and Kara Walker). April 24-June 7, 2015. 701 Arch Street, (215) 574-0380, aampmuseum.org
  • In the first major exhibition of the artist’s works in the country in more than two decades, Horace Pippin: The Way I See It features more than 60 bold, colorful and candid paintings that reflect life in the African-American community and comment on race, religion, war and history. The Brandywine Museum of Art’s exhibition reveals Pippin as an artist who upheld his own aesthetic sensibility while addressing larger social issues. April 25-July 19, 2015.U.S. Route 1 by Creek Road (formerly Route 100), (610) 388-2700, brandywine.org
  • Through an array of works in a broad spectrum of media, African-American Artists of 20th-Century Philadelphia at the Woodmere Art Museum tells the stories of some of Philadelphia’s most celebrated African-American artists, such as James Brantley, Claude Clark, and Ellen Powell Tiberino, and the institutions that nurtured their talents and exhibited their works. Numerous oral histories round out the story. September 26, 2015-January 24, 2016. 9201 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-0476, woodmereartmuseum.org
  • With more than 80 paintings, works on paper and the artist’s hand-made puppets all culled from major international private and public collections, Procession: The Art of Norman Lewis travels through four decades of the artist’s career from the 1930s through the 1970s. Through the exhibition, visitors to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts learn about Lewis’ role in the Harlem art community and his contributions to abstract expressionism.November 13, 2014-April 3, 2016. 118 N. Broad Street, (215) 972-7600, pafa.org

Permanent Collections:
African Art:

  • Dr. Albert Barnes’ interest in African art dates back to the early 1920s when he acquired traditional African masks and sculptures from the Dan and possibly Kulango societies of Côte d’Ivoire, as well as from Guinea and northeast Liberia. Visitors can see theses works, which he describes as “the purest expression of the three-dimensional form,” at the Barnes Foundation. Home to a remarkable collection of paintings from the masters of modern art, the Barnes Foundation’s significant collection of African art is displayed in remarkable ensembles that show how the likes of Picasso and Modigliani were influenced by the stylistic and symbolic forms in African art. The Barnes Foundation also holds important works by American artists, including Horace Pippin. 20th Street & Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (866) 849-7056, barnesfoundation.org
  • The Penn Museum, or University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, boasts an extensive collection of African art and artifacts such as masks, sculptures, instruments, famed Benin bronzes, embroidered garments and jewelry. Visitors can also marvel at a wide range of other materials from throughout the continent, which are on permanent display in the African and Ancient Egyptian galleries. 3260 South Street, (215) 898-4000,penn.museum

African-American Art:

The With Art Philadelphia® collaborative is a first-of-its-kind partnership to position Philadelphia among the world’s great art destinations and to increase visitation to the region from around the world. The groups contributing financial and other resources to the campaign are: the City of Philadelphia, VISIT PHILADELPHIA, Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Penn Museum (University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology), Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Philadelphia International Airport, Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau, Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, The Lenfest Foundation, William Penn Foundation, Knight Foundation, Arts & Business Council of Greater Philadelphia, PNC and PECO.

For more information about travel to Philadelphia, visit visitphilly.com or uwishunu.com, where you can build itineraries; search event calendars; see photos and videos; view interactive maps; sign up for newsletters; listen to HearPhilly, an online radio station about what to see and do in the region; book hotel reservations and more. Or, call the Independence Visitor Center, located in Historic Philadelphia, at (800) 537-7676.

For more information about With Art Philadelphia and high-resolution photos of the Philadelphia art scene and the region, visit visitphilly.com/withartpress.

Thank You to With Art Philadelphia for the content of this blog post. DoNArTNeWs contributed links to artist’s website and Wikipedia pages.

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