Martin 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:
- 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 Bannister, Henry 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
- 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
- In addition to special exhibitions, The African American Museum in Philadelphia houses and frequently displays a large collection of paintings, photographs, prints, drawings, sculptures and mixed-media works that chronicle and dramatically tell the story of the black Diaspora. 701 Arch Street, (215) 574-0380, aampmuseum.org
- Prominent African-American architect Julian Abele is credited with the design of the east façade of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but visitors can see works by other African-Americans inside the building as well. Three not-to-be-missed treasures: Miss T by Barkley Hendricks, Storage Jar by David Drake and Mr. Prejudice by Horace Pippin. 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, (215) 763-8100, philamuseum.org
- At the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the nation’s first fine arts school and museum and the first in the world to exhibit works by an African-American artist, visitors can view major works by Nick Cave, Kehinde Wiley, Whitfield Lovell, Mickalene Thomas, Jacob Lawrence, Horace Pippin and others on permanent display throughout the galleries. 118 N. Broad Street, (215) 972-7600, pafa.org
- For more than 42 years, the Brandywine Workshop has been a national force in the development and understanding of American printmaking as a fine-art form. The organization has sponsored more than 350 visiting artists’ residencies from 35 states and 15 countries, in addition to ethnically diverse artists from around the region. Guests can peruse and purchase more than 600 prints and lithographs from artists-in-residence past and present, including Sam Gilliam, Jacob Landau, Jules Olitski, Betye Sarr and Moe Brooker. 728 S. Broad Street, (215) 546-3675, brandywineworkshop.com
- Located in historic Chestnut Hill, Woodmere Art Museum celebrates the work of Philadelphia artists, including the city’s many great African-American talents. The museum recently acquired works by Charles Jay, Humbert Howard, Charles Searles, Sterling Shaw, Ron Tarver, Claude Clark, Paul F. Keene Jr. and James Brantley, and it regularly displays works by Allan R. Freelon, Dox Thrash, Raymond Steth, Louis Baynard Sloan, David Clyde Driskell and Moe Brooker.
9201 Germantown Avenue, (215) 247-0476, woodmereartmuseum.org
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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