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Drag

DRAG IN PHILADELPHIA: THE BOLD, THE BEAUTIFUL & THE BRUNCH
The Citywide Special—a shot of Jim Beam and a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon for $4 ($3 during happy hour)—may have originated at this beloved dive, but it’s only a part of what makes Bob & Barbara’s Lounge so fun. Thursday brings the drag show, Friday and Saturday nights feature live jazz, and karaoke ends the weekend on Sunday.
 
Credit: Photo by A. Ricketts for VISIT PHILADELPHIA®

DRAG IN PHILADELPHIA: THE BOLD, THE BEAUTIFUL & THE BRUNCH

Philly Drag History, Current Shows & Queens To Follow

PHILADELPHIA, March 26, 2019 – Philadelphia’s drag scene dates back centuries—and thrives to this day. Contemporary Philly drag queens most often perform in the bars and clubs of the Gayborhood, part of Center City’s Washington Square West neighborhood. But a growing number of venues beyond the neighborhood host drag brunches, game nights, variety shows and kids’ story times.

Philadelphia men have been costuming in ruffles and feathers since the 1600s, when Swedish immigrants began a raucous New Year’s tradition that, in 1901, officially became the Mummers Parade. Modern Mummers’ costumes are bold, bright, sequined—and blue collar. Women were permitted to join their ranks in the 1980s. In 2012, the Philly Drag Mafia became the first official queens to strut in the parade.

The city’s drag nightlife dates to at least to the 1950s, when the The New Forrest Lounge—now The Bike Stop, in the Gayborhood—required reservations for drag shows such as The Fabulous Fakes. Other drag hotspots Miss P’s at 18th and Lombard streets and ’90s dance club Shampoo helped broaden the audience for local drag culture, while dive bar Bob & Barbara’s emerged as a once-a-week base for performers.

Today, drag personalities replete with tongue-in-cheek names and spectacular style make their marks at nearly every queer bar in the Gayborhood, including Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar andVoyeur Nightclub, known for hosting frequent performances by both top-tier local talent up to nationally known queens from “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”So-called straight scenes that have gotten into the act include Northern Liberties’ Bourbon and Branch and Fishtown comedy club Punch Line Philly, hosts of brunch-time drag shows. There’s also a growing trend of drag queen story times, where queens read books aloud to rooms full of little ones.

Drag Shows:

  • Bob & Barbara’s – The South Street dive is as loved for its shot-and-a-beer special as it is for Miss Lisa Lisa, the teasing, raucous host of the bar’s Thursday night drag show. With a diverse rotating cast of new and seasoned queens, the event has the distinction of being the longest-running drag show in Philadelphia. 1509 South Street, (215) 545-4511,bobandbarbaras.com
  • Boxers PHL  Iris Spectre and VinChelle perform in a Gayborhood sports bar on Turn Out Tuesdays. Their variety show features local talent, tunes from DJ Drootrax and cocktails made with Philly-based Stateside vodka. Iris also hosts a live “RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing party here. 1330 Walnut Street, (215) 735-2977, boxersphl.com
  • Franky Bradley’s – The Gayborhood’s self-described “house of weird,” presents Farrah Thorne’s Get Hype showcase on the third Wednesday of every other month and hosts drag-boosted burlesque performance Honeygasm on the first Sunday of every month. The shows take place upstairs in an area complete with a corner stage and modern sound system, all bolstered by a funky ’70s-hippie vibe. 1320 Chancellor Street, (215) 735-0735, frankybradleys.com
  • FringeArts – This performing arts venue attached to brasserie La Peg presents queer cabaret Get Pegged about once per month fall through winter. The Bearded Ladies Cabaret founder John Jarboe hosts the series, which features diverse queer musical and burlesque artists from Philly and beyond. The venue also hosts a variety of drag shows as part of the fall Fringe Festival. 140 N. Christopher Columbus Boulevard, (215) 413-9006, fringearts.com
  • GayBINGO! at Congregation Rodeph Shalom – For 20 years, GayBINGO!,a fundraiser for Aids Fund Philly, has been one of Philadelphia’s most in-demand Friday night events. Every month in the fall and winter, drag hosts dress according to a theme, interact with audiences, perform numbers and call winners. 615 N. Broad Street, (215) 731-9255, aidsfundphilly.org
  • Knock Restaurant and Bar – Iris Spectre hosts All-Star Karaoke every Wednesday at Knock, a Gayborhood restaurant and bar known for its gentlemanly clientele and expertly made cocktails. 255 S. 12th Street, (215) 925-1166, knockphilly.com
  • L’Etage – The dimly lit, Paris-inspired performance space above Bella Vista creperie Beau Monde hosts one of Philly’s most popular monthly drag shows, the Martha Graham Cracker Cabaret. The line stretches around the block for the performance, which features covers of beloved pop songs by the self-proclaimed world’s tallest, hairiest drag queen. The space also hosts a regular lineup of drag shows, including an amateur drag night on the first Sunday of every month from Philadelphia producer John Burd. 624 S. 6th Street, (215) 592-0656, creperie-beaumonde.com
  • The Raven Resort – New Hope, Bucks County has long been an LGBTQ destination, and every visit must include a stop at this sprawling piano bar, restaurant, motel and pool, whose legacy stems back to the 1970s. The Raven has played host to notables such as local legend Tinsel Garland and drag big-timers Paige Turner and Sherry Vine. The current roster includesLipstick Mondays, when Cyannie Lopez hosts trans and queen performers on the first and third Monday of every month. 385 W. Bridge Street, New Hope, (215) 862-2081,theravennewhope.com
  • Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar – Home to a wide-range of queer performance art, Tabu is perhaps best known for its drag variety shows, constantly being reshaped to fit with the goings-on in pop culture and cravings of local audiences. The nightclub holds competitions, cabarets, drag queen-hosted karaoke and, on the first Saturday of the month, “Christian” comedy queen Bev’s popular drag show, Bev’s Bitchfest. 254 S. 12th Street, (215) 964-9675, tabuphilly.com
  • Tavern on Camac – Staying true to its reputation, the atmospheric piano bar tucked away on Camac Street hosts two regular live singing-focused drag events. Every Thursday, it’s GayBill, a night of showtune sing-alongs with host Cleo Phatra and her closest friends. On the third Saturday of every month, ukulele-strumming bearded lady Eric Jaffe hosts The Eric Jaffe Show, spotlighting some of the area’s fiercest musical talents. 243 S. Camac Street, (215) 545-0900, tavernoncamac.com
  • Toasted Walnut Bar & Kitchen – Cleo Phatra hosts Totally Toasted Trivia, a game night every Tuesday at this friendly, lesbian-owned bar. During “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” comedy queen Bev hosts viewing parties followed by karaoke. 1316 Walnut Street, (215) 546-8888, toastedwalnut.com
  • The Victoria Freehouse – A British pub named after one of history’s most outspoken queens hosts one-Saturday-a-month drag shows with themes that have been inspired by Harry Potter, “Game of Thrones” and Bettlejuice. Two or three times a year, hilarious Aunt Mary Pat, perhaps the most Philly queen of them all, performs sold-out standup. 10 S. Front Street, (215) 543-6089, victoriafreehouse.com
  • Voyeur Nightclub – The Gayborhood’s fiercest drag fans head to this after-hours club once a month to catch Philly Drag Wars hosted by local “RuPaul’s Drag Race” alum Mimi Imfurst. Described as “RuPaul’s Drag Race” meets “The Voice,” the competition follows a similar format to both shows, including a the lip-sync-for-your-life contest and a rotating cast of high-profile local judges. 1221 St. James Street, (215) 735-5772, voyeurnightclub.com
  • Woody’s – Drag diva VinChelle hosts a “RuPaul’s Drag Race” viewing party every Thursday during the show’s regular season. The night features drink specials and boisterous banter directed at the screen. VinChelle also hosts karaoke on Woody’s second level on Wednesday nights. 202 S. 13th Street, (215) 545-1893, woodysbar.com

Drag Brunches:

  • Bourbon and Branch – On the fourth Sunday of each month, this Southern restaurant in Northern Liberties hosts a troupe of local drag queens in Babes of Bourbon and Branch, making the restaurant and music venue one of few surefire spots to enjoy live drag with a side of grits. 705 N. 2nd Street, (215) 238-0660, bourbonandbranchphilly.com
  • L’Etage – French toast, crepes and mimosas are part of the Ladies of L’Etage Drag Brunch, when queens come together for an afternoon of song, wowing death drops and, on occasion, a naughty puppet show. 624 S. 6th Street, (215) 592-0656, creperie-beaumonde.com
  • Mifflin Tavern – Drag brunch arrives South Philly-style every fourth Saturday of the month, when comedy queen Brittany Lynn sings and jokes as diners chow down on pub grub and throw back beers. Lynn also hosts a game night at the Pennsport pub every Wednesday. 1843 S. 2nd Street, (267) 273-0811, mifflintavern.net
  • Punch Line Philly – Each Saturday, this comedy club and restaurant charges a flat fee for brunch and an all-ages drag show—with a dash of raunchiness—hosted by two-time “RuPaul’s Drag Race” contender Mimi Imfurst. The weekly performance also features longtime Philly queens such as Cleo Phatra, Brooklyn Ford and Sutton Fearce. 33 E. Laurel Street, (215) 606-6555, dragdivabrunch.com
  • SouthHouse – Tater tots may be the star attraction at this unassuming neighborhood bar in South Philly’s Lower Moyamensing neighborhood, but drag queens Brittany Lynn, Navaya Shay and Crystal Electra try to outshine them during a drag brunch every first Sunday of the month. 2535 S. 13th Street, (267) 457-3682, southhousephilly.com
  • Tabu Lounge & Sports Bar – A rotating cast of queens that includes Onyx Black, Sasha Magnolia and Patty Spaghetti hit Tabu’s sports bar two Sundays a month for the Ladies of Tabu Drag Brunch. 254 S. 12th Street, (215) 964-9675, tabuphilly.com
  • The Victoria Freehouse – Old City’s atmospheric British pub gets wild on select Saturdays, when comedy queens host drag brunches with themes from Alice in Wonderland or Disney, and diners dress the part. 10 S. Front Street, (215) 543-6089, victoriafreehouse.com

Drag Queen Storytime:

  • Free Library of Philadelphia – Branches of Philadelphia’s public library get in on the drag queen story hour trend, where queens read aloud to a roomful of wide-eyed tots. Brittany Lynn is the Free Library’s most frequent storyteller. She has read at Lovett Memorial in Mount Airy and the Fumo Family Library in South Philly. Various locations, (215) 686-5322, freelibrary.org
  • Please Touch Museum – One day during Pride month, Philadelphia’s hands-on kids’ museum invites drag queens to read tales of diversity and acceptance to audiences of hundreds as part of its family Pride Celebration. The daylong event also features a dress-up corner, runway show, interactive puppet skits and singalongs. 4231 Avenue of the Republic, (215) 581-3181,pleasetouchmuseum.org

Drag Queens To Follow:

  • Ariel Versace – With a massive Instagram following and a closet to match, this self-described “life-sized Bratz doll” became the second local queen to nab a spot on the 2019 season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” Versace’s newfound stardom means she’ll now be performing around the world, but followers can still catch her around Philly. @arielversace
  • Aunt Mary Pat – She eschews expensive costumes and rocks a 5 o’clock shadow, but what Aunt Mary Pat lacks in glam she makes up for in hilarity. The beer-guzzling comedy queen is the epitome of Philly, entertaining audiences at her standup sets with anecdotes about her love for Wawa and “the Iggles.” facebook.com/auntmarypat
  • Aurora Whorealis – An Alaska transplant and Gayborhood staple, Aurora is primarily a comedy queen who performs at a slew of clubs and hosts “Trivi-YASSS” on Monday nights at Tabu. She was crowned “Best Lip-Sync Artist” at the 2017 Philly Drag Awards, an annual competition at Voyeur Nightclub. instagram.com/aurorawh0realis
  • Bev – Philadelphia’s self-described “premier Christian drag queen” is, intentionally ironically, known for her “Bitchfest” drag showcase at Tabu, when she presents other queens while tossing out quip after quip. Bev’s awards include “Best Comedy Performer” at the 2018 Drag Awards, “Miss Gulf Coast Comedy Queen,” 2017 and “Miss Northeast Comedy Queen,” 2016.facebook.com/theoneandonlyBev
  • Brittany Lynn – Created at former gay club 12th Air Command in 1996, Brittany Lynn is a cornerstone of the city’s drag scene, constantly reinventing herself with new events: a talk show, standup acts, live singing, weekly showcases and story time at the Free Library, for example. In 2013, she ushered in a new era of drag-queen involvement in the Mummers Parade by establishing the Miss Fancy Brigade, an achievement Philadelphia City Council recognized by honoring her with her own, official holiday: March 15 is Brittany Lynn Day. phillydragmafia.com
  • Iris Spectre – Every queen has her niche, and for this 2016 Philly Drag Awards “Drag Queen of the Year,” it’s costumes, costumes, costumes. The Parsons School of Fashion-trained designer’s costumes have been weird, fantastical and downright chic. She’s created pieces for big-name queens such as “RuPaul’s Drag Race” favorite Peppermint. facebook.com/Iris-Spectre
  • Martha Graham Cracker – Pig Iron Theatre Company co-founder by day, Dito van Reigersberg may be better known by his nighttime persona, Martha Graham Cracker, a hairy drag queen who skips the lip-syncing in favor of glass-shattering live vocals. Martha has been a regular on the drag performance circuit since 2005 and recently performed a one-woman show at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. facebook.com/MarthaGrahamCracker
  • Mimi Imfurst – Notorious for competing on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and “RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars,” Philadelphia-based drag performer and event producer Mimi Imfurst hosts an all-ages Drag Diva Brunch at the Punch Line featuring a boisterous cast of local drag queens. She also produces theatrical events and national drag tours. mimiimfurst.com
  • Miss Lisa Lisa – All-out with her charm offensive, Miss Lisa Lisa—“so nice, she was named twice”—is a local icon, strutting her stuff and touting her strong-as-steel personality weekly at Bob & Barbara’s on South Street. She’s also been known to introduce new queens and performers at-large to the scene with her freestyle slots during her shows.phillydragmafia.com/project/underboss-miss-lisa-lisa
  • VinChelle – This Nashville-born University of Arts graduate, who also goes by the nickname Shea Better Werk, also refers to herself as a “tribal queen.” The “Drag Queen of the Year” at the 2017 Drag Awards and winner of the 2015 Drag Wars often incorporates African costumes, song and dance into her stage shows. facebook.com/SheaButterWerk

VISIT PHILADELPHIA® is our name and our mission. As the region’s official tourism marketing agency, we build Greater Philadelphia’s image, drive visitation and boost the economy.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, 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.

Thank you to Arturo Varela for the content of this post.

arturo@visitphilly.com

Tweet Us: @visitphillyPR

Tweet It: The queens and the scene that make Philadelphia drag so fun @visitphilly: https://vstphl.ly/2G84zRN

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Poetry

Art of Poetry, Philadelphia Museum of ArtThe Tony, Peabody and Emmy Award winning, six time HBO Def Poet Black Ice (pictured) and many of Def Poetry Jam’s most recognized poets will reunite for an evening of spoken artistry on April 26. (Image courtesy of the artist)

Art of Poetry at Philadelphia Museum of Art

In April and May, Philadelphia Museum of Art is celebrating the art of poetry through artist collaborations including film, performances, talks, tours, and workshops.

2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway Philadelphia, PA 19130
philamuseum.org

Now on View

Through June 9

  • Whitman, Alabama—Experience Walt Whitman‘s poem “Song of Myself,” brought to life through the voices of Alabama residents, to celebrate diversity and our connectedness to one another. This film by Jennifer Crandall is accompanied by photographs from the museum’s collection that suggest the complexity of American identity.This exhibition is offered in conjunction with Whitman at 200: Art and Democracy, a region-wide initiative organized by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, with major support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.

Wednesday Nights

April 3

  • Art of Poetry Opening Celebration—Heralding our two months of poetry-inspired programs, performance poets make our galleries sing with spoken word while artists blend language and art. Drink and Draw with Martha Rich—Sip while you sketch with this Philly-based artist and make zines inspired by memories, eavesdropping, and found text. Rich paints words and food with a penchant for the absurd. Her work has been featured in Rolling StoneBon Appétit, and Entertainment Weekly. (Materials provided; drinks available for purchase.) Poetry tours with The Philly Pigeon—Join this collective, which aims to elevate and popularize the art form of performance poetry, for a lively tour through the galleries.Gallery takeover with the museum’s Teen Ambassador Group (TAG)—This group of high school students work with curators, educators, and other museum staff to create programs especially for teens.

Slow Art Day

April 6

Slow Art Day—This annual international event encourages museum visitors to slow down with their favorite works of art and do some mindful looking.

  • Poetry Workshops with Michelle Taransky—Learn to slow down with the poetic techniques of describing and responding, and discover new ways of looking at art. 11:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.
  • Introspective Bookmaking with Candy Alexandra González—Explore the art of stillness and moving at a slower pace. Drop in for collaborative visual art and poetry exercises to produce a collectively made book.
  • Music in the Galleries: Lines/Patterns—Form and structure make the link between American visual artist Ellsworth Kelly and German baroque composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Presented in partnership with the Curtis Institute of Music. 1:30, 2:15 & 3:00 p.m.
  • Spotlight Gallery Conversations—Engage in slow looking and thoughtful discussion as a different artwork takes center stage during each of five hourly gallery tours, 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m

Family Festival

April 7

  • Family Festival: Poetry Party—April is International Poetry Month, so words are our art medium during this month’s Family Festival. Read a painting, write a sculpture, draw a poem. Join artist Martha Rich and fill the Great Stair Hall with your wonderful words.

Friday Nights

April 5

April 12

April 19

  • Dawn Landes—Full of vivid storytelling, classic country themes, and eternal questions, the songwriting of this Nashville artist is as fresh as it is timeless.

April 26

  • Final Fridays: Def Poetry Reunion—Def Poetry Jam co-founder Danny Simmons invites some of Philly’s most recognized poets to gather for an evening of spoken artistry. Featuring Sonia Sanchez, Ursula Rucker, Black Ice, Vanessa German, Bonafide Rojas, and Jessica Care Moore. Hosted by Liza Jessie Peterson. A DJ set by Rich Medina with visuals by The Marksmen follows the performance. Please note that the museum will close at 5:00 p.m. before the performance, and will reopen at 6:00 p.m. for ticket holders only. Member tickets are on sale now. Public tickets go on sale March 8. Most galleries will be closed during this event, with the exception of exhibitions Whitman, Alabama, The Impressionist’s Eye, and Yoshitoshi: Spriti and Spectacle.

Talks & Tours

May 11

  • In the Artist’s Voice: Jennifer Crandall—Who is America? The filmmaker of Whitman, Alabama explores this question and more in a conversation with WHYY Executive Producer of Audio Content Elisabeth Perez-Luna. Support for this program was provided by the Albert M. Greenfield Foundation Fund for Education.

May 30

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

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Die

 Ebony G. Patterson: if we must die

Ebony G. Patterson: if we must die

Ebony G. Patterson bears witness to the violence and social injustices

imposed upon the invisible and the voiceless

February 11 – April 20, 2019.

In dialog with the artist Wednesday, March 27 at 5:00 p.m

GLASSBORO, NJ – Known for her drawings, tapestries, videos, sculptures and installations that involve surfaces layered with flowers, glitter, lace and bead, Ebony G. Patterson’s works investigate forms of embellishment as they relate to youth culture within disenfranchised communities. That work is the focus of the newest exhibition at Rowan University Art GalleryEbony G. Patterson: If We Must Die. The exhibit is on display from February 11 – April 20, 2019.

In conjunction with the exhibit, a conversation with the artist will be held on Wednesday, March 27 at 5:00 p.m. in the gallery, led by visiting scholar Colette Gaiter, a professor in the Department of Art & Design and Department of Africana Studies at the University of Delaware. A reception will follow.

The two featured installations – Invisible Presence: Bling Memories and Of 72 – employ opulent, hand-embellished surfaces and brightly colored patterns that entice viewers to bear witness to the violence and social injustices imposed on the invisible and the voiceless. Patterson’s neo-Baroque works address masculinity, “bling,” visibility, and invisibility within the post-colonial context of her native Jamaica and within black youth culture globally. The references to Carnival in Patterson’s use of beads, plastic ornaments, and reflective materials echo her interest in mining international aesthetics in her practice.

 Ebony G. Patterson: if we must die

Born in Jamaica, Patterson received her BFA from Edna Manley College in Jamaica and an MFA from Sam Fox College of Design & Visual Arts in St. Louis. She has had recent solo exhibitions at The Perez Museum in Miami, The Studio Museum in Harlem, Atlanta Center for Contemporary Art, and Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago. She was featured in biennials in Havana, Cuba; New Orleans; Jamaica; and Miami. She has exhibited in Brazil, Boston, and New York, in addition to group exhibitions at Seattle Art Museum, National Art Gallery of the Cayman Islands, and National Gallery of the Bahamas among others. Her work is included in a number of public collections, including The Studio Museum in Harlem and the Museum of Art and Design, New York; Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, NC; Speed Art Museum, Louisville, KY; 21c Museum Hotels; and the National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston.

The gallery is located at 301 High Street West. Free 2-hour public parking is available in the Mick Drive Parking Garage across the street from the gallery. Admission to the gallery, lecture, and reception is free and open to the public. Regular gallery hours are Monday – Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Thursday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Directions can be found on the gallery website. For more information, call 856-256-4521 or visit www.rowan.edu/artgallery.

Support for programming at Rowan University Art Galleries is also made possible by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Thank you to Mary Salvante for the content of this post.

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2019

MAJOR PHILADELPHIA ART EXHIBITS FOR 2019 Philly Museums Celebrate A Year Of Creative DiversityFrom Bondage to Freedom, by Jerry Pinkney, appeared in the National Park Service Underground Railroad Handbook and is part of “Freedom’s Journal: The Art of Jerry Pinkney” at the Woodmere Art Museum, February 16-May 12, 2019. Photo courtesy Jerry Pinkney

MAJOR PHILADELPHIA ART EXHIBITS FOR 2019
Philly Museums Celebrate A Year Of Creative Diversity

PHILADELPHIA, December 17, 2018 – Philadelphia’s celebrated history of dynamic artistic expression shines in a fascinating breadth of art exhibitions in 2019. The lineup features a diverse range of artists and media exploring personal stories and issues of the day.

Major museum shows include the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s multimedia impressionist works in The Impressionist’s Eye. The Barnes Foundation hosts a body of work by contemporary video artist Bill Violaand the Brandywine River Museum looks at the varied work by N.C. Wyeth in New Perspectives.

Smaller yet just-as-mighty exhibits represent provocative, beautiful work by artists from minority communities. These include a year-long, three-part artistic examination of the legacy of slavery with Colored People Time: Mundane Futures, Quotidian Pasts and Banal Presents at the Institute of Contemporary Art; a retrospective of artist David Lebe, known for his homoerotic photographs, in Long Light: Photographs by David Lebe at the Philadelphia Museum of Art; and an exhibit from contemporary artists Sonya Clark and Jacolby Satterwhite that challenges traditional assumptions at The Fabric Workshop and Museum.

Here’s a look at what art fans can look forward to in the year ahead:

Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org

  • Re-opening of the Galleries of Chinese Art – In tandem with architect Frank Gehry’s overall plan for the museum, the renovation and reinstallation of the Chinese art collection debuts early in 2019. The collection spans 4,000 years and consists of more than 7,000 pieces, including 500 paintings dating from the 12th to the 20th century, plus costumes, textiles, furniture, jades, lacquer wares, cloisonné and contemporary works. February 3, 2019
  • The Impressionist’s Eye – The museum’s collection of work in a rich variety of media by esteemed impressionist painters shows the artists’ versatility. Paintings, watercolors, drawings and sculptures by Manet, Degas, Monet, Pissarro, Sisley, Renoir, Morisot, Cassatt, Seurat, Cézanne, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec and Rodin comprise the exhibit of approximately 70 works. April 16-August 18, 2019
  • Yoshitoshi: Spirit and Spectacle – Honoring Japanese master printmaker Tsukioka Yoshitoshi (1839-1892), this exhibit showcases highlights from more than 1,200 prints. Yoshitoshi’s work reflects cultural traditions and the upheavals of the modern world that followed Japan’s opening to the West after 200 years of isolation. The exhibit includes selections from the artists final project and his best-known series, One Hundred Aspects of the Moon, 1885-1992April 16-August 18, 2019

Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2525 Pennsylvania Avenue, (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org

  • Long Light: Photographs by David Lebe ­– David Lebe’s first retrospective features powerful work from his 1994 documentation of his and his partner’s daily struggles with AIDS, images from late-1960s anti-war marches and The Great March on Washington in 1987 for lesbian and gay rights. Born in Manhattan in 1948, the Philadelphia College of Art (now the University of the Arts)-trained photographer is known for the homoerotic themes in his work that present and examine gay life. February 9-May 5, 2019
  • Souls Grown Deep – Works by luminaries Thornton Dial, Lonnie Holley, Ronald Lockett, Hawkins Bolden and Bessie Harvey are part of this exhibit featuring 24 acquisitions from Atlanta’s Souls Grown Deep Foundation. With a focus on art-making with found objects and everyday materials, the artists’works range in size from modest wall pieces to sculptures more than 12 feet wide. Displaying alongside them: 15 exquisitely made quilts by women from Gee’s Bend, Alabama. June 8-September 2, 2019
  • Collage and Assemblage from the Collection – Complementing Souls Grown Deep are select examples from the museum’s collection of early- to mid-20th-century Modernist and contemporary art. June 8-September 2, 2019

MAJOR PHILADELPHIA ART EXHIBITS FOR 2019 Philly Museums Celebrate A Year Of Creative DiversityCecilia Vicuña’s site-specific installation, Precarios, includes 110 to 112 found-object sculptures of stone, shells, glass, wood, plastic, thread and debris, presented in a field of sand, along a wall and on small shelves made of wood. This view is from the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans. The installation is part of “Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen,” at Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Art, February 1-March 31, 2019. Photo by Alex Marks / Copyright © 2017 Alex Marks

Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA), 118 S. 36th Street, (215) 898-7108, icaphila.org

  • Colored People Time: Mundane Futures, Quotidian Pasts and Banal Presents – A three-part exhibit examines the everyday ways that slavery and colonialism continue to leave marks on American culture. The exhibit’s consecutive shows include Mundane Futures (February 1-March 31), featuring work by contemporary artists Martine Syms, Kevin Jerome Everson, Aria Dean and Dave McKenzie. The second, Quotidian Pasts (April 26-August 11), examines the complexities of collecting and displaying African objects, with artifacts from the Penn Museum displayed alongside new work by Matthew Angelo Harrison. The final installment, Banal Presents (September 13-December 22), features new and recent work by Sable Elyse Smith, Cameron Rowland and Carolyn Lazard. February 1-December 22, 2019
  • Cecilia Vicuña: About to Happen – The first major solo exhibition of this Chilean-born poet, artist, filmmaker and human rights activist boldly tackles social and political issues. Vicuña’s work flows from concept and craft, text and textile to address economic and environmental disparities and the reclamation of her ancestral traditions. February 1-March 31, 2019
  • Introducing Tony Conrad: A Retrospective – This exhibit presents the first large-scale survey of an avant-garde artist whose 1960s groundbreaking work in film and Minimalist music challenged barriers between mediums. A sensory experience that invokes the spirit of Conrad’s participatory and performative approach, this exhibit is a showcase for his far-flung interests in sculpture, painting, film, video and installation. February 1-August 11, 2019

Barnes Foundation2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 278-7200, barnesfoundation.org

  • Pat Steir Silent Secret Waterfalls: The Barnes Series – In the first installation of paintings on view in the Annenberg Court, the Barnes Foundation presents 11 seven-foot-tall oil paintings by American artist Pat Steir. The works reference the artist’s lauded Abstract-dripped Waterfall series that she began creating in the 1980s. January 12-November 17, 2019
  • From Today, Painting Is Dead: Early Photography in France and Britain – Exploring the fertile period in the early history of photography when the medium’s pioneers adapted and transformed this rich and complex medium, the Barnes’s second survey of photography presents nearly 250 early photographs—most of which have never before been exhibited—created by British and French photographers between the 1840s and 1880s. February 24-May 12, 2019
  • I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Like: The Art of Bill Viola – This exhibition brings together a selection of major works reflecting on the history of painting by renowned video artist Bill Viola, including screen-based works and large scale installations. June 30-September 15, 2019
  • 30 Americans – This exhibit showcases painting, sculpture and photos by influential African-American artists of the past three decades. October 27, 2019-January 12, 2020

Fabric Workshop and Museum1214 Arch Street, (215) 561-8888, fabricworkshopandmuseum.org:

  • Sonya Clark (exhibit name TBA) – The Virginia-based textile and performance artist presents work that weaves together her interests in symbols, history, race and identity. Clark’s previous performance art includes Unraveling and Unraveled, in which she meticulously unraveled the threads of a Confederate flag. March 29-August 4, 2019
  • Jacolby Satterwhite (exhibit name TBA) – A multidisciplinary artist embraces the role of provocateur with performance, music and animation. As a queer African-American man, Satterwhite addresses issues that impact his personal experience and explores issues of nostalgia, family and music.September 13, 2019-January 19, 2020

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), 128 N. Broad Street, (215) 972-7600, pafa.org

  • Zanele Muholi & The Women’s Mobile Museum – Acclaimed photographer Zanele Muholi and the Philadelphia Photo Arts Center worked with 10 women in a yearlong paid apprenticeship to create this photographic exhibition that addresses questions such as “Whose portraits are shown in museums?” and “Who is art for?” December 22, 2018-March 31, 2019
  • Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular Avant-Garde – Appearing at four venues—PAFA, the University of Arts, the Philadelphia Art Alliance and Gershman Hall—this exhibition explores Philadelphia from 1956 to 1976, when the city was a hotbed of Pop Art, architectural and urban-planning innovation and post-war art school expansion. On display: photographs, paintings, films, posters by Ree Morton, Jody Pinto and Hannah Wilkie, along with achievements by architect Denise Scott Brown. March 18-June 28, 2019
  • From the Schuylkill to the Hudson: Landscapes of the Early American Republic – A scenic tour of the local landscape as captured by Philadelphia painters from the Early American Republic to the Centennial Exhibition of 1876, this exhibit shows how Philadelphia-area artists influenced the Hudson River School. This is the first major exhibit to look at Philadelphia’s role in the development of American landscape painting. June 29-December 29, 2019

Woodmere Art Museum9201 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-0476, woodmereartmuseum.org

  • Freedom’s Journal: The Art of Jerry Pinkney – This exhibition of works by Germantown-born illustrator (and Caldecott winner) Jerry Pickney reflects his focus on issues surrounding African-Americans and includes his powerful illustrations for historian Charles L. Blockson’s article, “Escape from Slavery: The Underground Railroad,” which appeared in National Geographic, and watercolors for The Old African, a book Pinkney considers one of his most important accomplishments. February 16-May 12, 2019
  • Our Town: A Retrospective of Edith Neff – This Philadelphia artist and leading realist painter used Philadelphia, her friends, neighbors and students (she taught at PAFA until her death) as subjects in work. Although the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Art have acquired some Neff pieces, Our Town is the first large-scale exhibition of her work in more than two decades. April 13-October 27, 2019

Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens1020 South Street, (215) 733-0390, phillymagicgardens.org

  • Patterned Paintings by Claes Gabriel and Andrew Chalfen – Two artists present work marked by an ornate expression of design, layering and color play. While Gabriel’s works incorporate Haitian culture with color, folklore and fantasy, Chalfen’s reference cartography, fractal blooms and other complex patterns. March 1-April 28, 2019
  • Paintings by Isaiah Zagar – Though more well-known for his mosaics, Zagar is also a painter with an extensive portfolio that informs his work in 3-D. May 3-July 7, 2019
  • Stained Glass Works by Justin Tyner – Tyner’s work mixes salvaged and repurposed glass to manipulate light in his distinctive psychedelic style. July 12-September 8, 2019
  • Collaborative Works by Martha Clippinger – In this exhibit comprising tapetes (rugs), ceramics, repurposed wood and hand-woven textiles, Clippinger explores artistic collaboration’s potential to break down conceptual barriers between craft and fine art. The tapetes are the centerpiece of the exhibition and were made in collaboration with weavers from Oaxaca, Mexico. September 13-November 10, 2019

Eastern State Penitentiary2027 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 236-3300, easternstate.org

  • Hidden Lives, Illuminated – Twenty commissioned, animated short films by artists living or working in prisons look inside the daily life of America’s correctional system. Each film is projected onto Eastern State’s facade and is accompanied by a customized soundtrack. Discussions about criminal justice issues accompany the films. August 17-September 14, 2019

Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia19 S. 22nd Street, (215) 560-8564, muttermuseum.org

  • Bones, Books & Bell Jars – Photographer and physician Andrea Baldeck went behind the scenes and explored the museum’s collection, then selected items and combined them for her still life photographs. As presented in this exhibition, her images capture the fascinating beauty of some of the Mütter’s medical objects. Through May 2019
  • Spit Spreads Death: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918-19 in Philadelphia – The Mütter opens its most ambitious exhibition to date in a multi-disciplinary recounting of a global pandemic that took thousands of local lives in two years. History, art, science and contemporary issues offer a unique view into the terrifying time. Included in the exhibition is a work by the artist group Blast Theory and digital interactives that allow visitors to explore data from more than 20,000 death certificates from Philadelphia neighborhoods. October 17, 2019-August 5, 2024

Independence Seaport Museum211 S. Christopher Columbus Boulevard, (215) 413-8655, phillyseaport.org

  • O.TW. — On the Water: The Schuylkill River – Work by contemporary artists James Lancel McElhinney, Patrick Connors, Tom Judd, Deirdre Murphy, Stacy Levy, Jacob Rivkin and Joseph Sweeney address the Schuylkill as a nexus of American art, science, literature and commerce. Historic images are also included in the exhibition. Through September 2019

Brandywine River Museum of Art1 Hoffman’s Mill Road, Chadds Ford, (610) 388-2700, brandywine.org

  • American Beauty: Selections From the Richard M. Scaife Bequest – The Brandywine River Museum of Art and The Westmoreland Museum of American Art present 50 paintings from the bequest of their late, longtime trustee, Richard M. Scaife. Featured are 19th– and 20th-century American masterworks by Martin Johnson Heade, John Frederick Kensett, Albert Bierstadt, George Inness, William Merritt Chase and Guy Pene du Bois. March 9-May 27, 2019
  • N.C. Wyeth: New Perspectives – This exhibit takes a comprehensive look into the oeuvre of this master 20th-century illustrator. Though better known for his work illustrating classics such as Treasure Island and The Boy’s King Arthur, Wyeth had artistic output that went well beyond, with landscapes, portraits, murals, and still lifes. The exhibit will include about 70 paintings and drawings that reveal a fuller picture of this American icon. June 22-September 15, 2019

Michener Art Museum138 S. Pine Street, Doylestown, (215) 340-9800, michenerartmuseum.org

  • The Art of Seating: 200 Years of American Design – More than 40 chairs chosen for their significance tell the story of American aesthetics from the early 19th century to the present. Designers include John Henry Belter, George Hunzinger, Herter Brothers, Stickley Brothers, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Isamu Noguchi and Frank Gehry, among others. February 9-May 5, 2019
  • Nakashima Looks: Studio Furniture from the Permanent Collection – Artist Mira Nakashima, daughter of acclaimed woodworker George Nakashima, guest curates an exhibit that showcases some of the stunning work in the museum’s collection by both father and daughter. March 2-June 9, 2019
  • The Color of the Moon: Lunar Painting in American Art – More than 50 works of art depict the moon and reveal its prominence in American landscape painting in this unusually themed exhibit. Highlights include work by Thomas Cole, the father of the Hudson River School, and illustrations by Norman Rockwell. June 1-September 8, 2019

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On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com, 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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