The Philadelphia Museum of Art (2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA 19130) is an art museum originally chartered in 1876 for the Centennial Exposition. The main museum building was completed in 1928 on Fairmount at the northwest end of Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The museum administers collections containing over 227,000 objects including major holdings of European, American and Asian origin. The various classes of artwork include sculpture, paintings, prints, drawings, photographs, armor and decorative arts.
The Museum administers several annexes including the Rodin Museum, also located on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, and the Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building, which is located across the street just north of the main building. The Perelman Building, which opened in 2007, houses more than 150,000 prints, drawings and photographs, along with 30,000 costume and textile pieces, and over 1,000 modern and contemporary design objects including furniture, ceramics and glasswork. The museum also administers the historic colonial-era houses of Mount Pleasant and Cedar Grove, both located in Fairmount Park.
The full slate of exhibitions scheduled for the upcoming year will feature classic furniture from an historical Philadelphia home, the re-opening of the newly renovated South Asia Galleries, a major show highlighting works from Mexico’s greatest Modernist artists and a newly acquired work by the acclaimed Mumbai-based artist Jitish Kallat.
Classical Splendor: Painted Furniture for a Grand Philadelphia House
September 3, 2016–January 1, 2017
Curators: Alexandra Alevizatos Kirtley, The Montgomery-Garvan Curator of American Decorative Arts; Peggy Olley, Associate Conservator of Furniture and Woodwork
Location: Lynne and Harold Honickman Gallery and Muriel and Philip Berman Gallery
This exhibition will showcase a set of furniture designed by architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe and made in Philadelphia in 1808 for the home of William and Mary Wilcocks Waln, which stood at the southeast corner of Seventh and Chestnut Streets in Philadelphia. The Museum’s ten surviving pieces of furniture from the Walns’ original set will be shown in a new light, after a comprehensive five-year curatorial study and conservation treatment. It will highlight the team of makers—the designer (Latrobe), the builder (John Aitken), the painter (George Bridport), and the upholsterer (John Rea) who ushered a new style of classical art into American interiors. The Walns’ drawing rooms and their furniture provided a setting imitating the art and culture of ancient Greece. The exhibition considers Latrobe’s groundbreaking “klismos” chair design and will reveal the London-trained Bridport as a visionary who translated Latrobe’s design for the walls into classical designs for the painted furniture and whose work is represented today only by the surviving Waln furniture. Through the use of large-scale computer renderings and various other interactive elements, visitors will be able to explore the way the house’s two drawing rooms were furnished and how their settings interacted with the rest of the house and the gardens, which were also designed by Latrobe. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog.
Sideboard, 1808 designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, (Purchased with the gift [by exchange] of Mrs. Alex Simpson, Jr., and A. Carson Simpson, and with funds contributed by Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Raley and various donors, 1986-126-3) Photograph by Gavin Ashworth, New York
Furniture Grouping: Side Chairs, Sideboard, Card Table, and Sofa, 1808, designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Photograph by Gavin Ashworth, New York
Support for this exhibition is provided by The Richard C. von Hess Foundation and The Laura and William C. Buck Endowment for Exhibitions, as well as Linda H. Kaufman, Stiles Tuttle Colwill, Kathy and Ted Fenberger, Leslie Miller and Richard Worley, Boo and Morris Stroud, and other generous donors. The publication is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Fund for Scholarly Publications at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and The Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Conservation support was provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Richard C. von Hess Foundation, Henry Luce Foundation, and The Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Fall 2016 Art Preview: Bruce Nauman: Contrapposto Studies, I through VII at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
September 18, 2016 – January 8, 2017
Curators: Carlos Basualdo, The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Senior Curator of Contemporary Art and Erica F. Battle, The John Alchin and Hal Marryatt Associate Curator of Contemporary Art
The Philadelphia Museum of Art will premiere an ambitious new project this fall by Bruce Nauman. Since the 1960s, Nauman’s work has questioned the very nature of what constitutes art and being an artist, probed the possibilities of the body as subject and tool for performance, and explored the relationship between language and meaning. A pioneer of performance art, durational practices, and time-based media, Nauman has established a conceptually rigorous approach across sculpture, sound, installation, film, and video that continues to inspire younger generations of artists working in these forms today.
The installation takes as its point of departure his seminal video work Walk with Contrapposto of 1968, in which the artist performed an exaggerated walk along a tall narrow corridor that he had built in order to stage the action. Nauman’s new work, which is titled Contrapposto Studies, I through VII, consists of seven large scale video projections with sound in an installation specifically scaled for two galleries in the Museum on the occasion of its premiere. In each of the projections, Nauman is seen from two viewpoints walking in contrapposto, his image rendered both in positive and negative, and at times fragmented and stacked in two horizontal strata.
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New South Asia Art Galleries, Re-opening October 2, 2016
Curator: Darielle Mason, The Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art
Indra, Lord of Storms and King of the Gods’ Realm, Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, c. 1200, Mercury-gilded copper alloy with spinel rubies, rock crystal, and turquoise, 15 7/8 × 9 3/4 × 8 1/2 inches (40.3 × 24.8 × 21.6 cm), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Stella Kramrisch Collection (1994-148-596)
The Museum undertook a comprehensive transformation of the galleries dedicated to its outstanding collection of art from the Indian subcontinent and the Himalayan regions. It updated the physical gallery space and re-imagined how the masterworks tell their stories. The overarching purpose was to inspire curiosity, to ignite emotion, and to deepen visitor engagement with the art and cultures of South Asia.
Amara Beah (The Immortal Marriage) Shiva and his wife Parvati at home in the Himalayas, c. 1700-1725, Mankot, Himachal Pradesh, (Pahari region) India, Opaque watercolor and gold on paper, Image: 9 × 6 1/8 inches (22.9 × 15.6 cm) Sheet: 11 3/8 × 8 9/16 inches (28.9 × 21.7 cm), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Stella Kramrisch Collection (1994-148-509)
The Museum’s exceptional collection of art from the Indian subcontinent gained prominence in 1919, with the donation of a South Indian temple hall, making Philadelphia the only place outside Asia where a visitor could experience the sculpted figures and architecture unique to the temples of India. Dr. Stella Kramrisch (1896–1993), one of the twentieth century’s preeminent historians of India’s art, built the Museum’s South Asian collections, expanding them to include a full range of sculptures, paintings, textiles, and folk arts from across the subcontinent along with masterpieces of Buddhist art from Tibet. She donated over one thousand works of art. In recent decades, all aspects of the collection have been further enriched by important gifts and acquisitions including, notably, the bequest of Dr. Alvin O. Bellak’s extensive collection of Indian “miniature” paintings in 2004.
Tara, Goddess of Compassion, 18th-19th century, Made in Dolon Nor, Duolun County, Chahar Province, Inner Mongolia, China, Gilded bronze, Approximately: 45 x 38 x 26 inches (114.3 x 96.5 x 66 cm), Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of John T. Morris (1911-98)
The re-installation of the Museum’s galleries of South Asian Art was made possible by the Estate of Phyllis T. Ballinger, The Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Hersha, Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, William Penn Foundation, Gupta Family Foundation Ujala, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and The McLean Contributionship. Additional funds were contributed by Steve and Gretchen Burke, Sailesh and Manidipa Chowdhury, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Kimelman, Mr. and Mrs. Shantanu RoyChowdhury, Pamela and Ajay Raju, the Jones Wajahat Family, Drs. Julia A. and Eugene P. Ericksen, Ira Brind and Stacey Spector, Lyn M. Ross, Andrea Baldeck M.D., Shanta and Sumana Ghosh, Dr. Krishna Lahiri, David and Jean Yost, and other generous donors.
Paint the Revolution: Mexican Modernism, 1910–1950
October 25, 2016–January 6, 2017
Curators: Matthew Affron, The Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Mark A. Castro, Project Assistant Curator, European Painting, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Dafe Cruz Porchini, Postdoctoral Researcher, Colegio de México, Mexico City and Renalto González Mello, Director of the Institute for Aesthetic Investigation, National Autonomous University of Mexico
Location: Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries
Self-Portrait on the Border Line Between Mexico and the United States, 1932, by Frida Kahlo (Colección Maria y Manuel Reyero, New York) © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, in partnership with the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, will present a landmark exhibition that takes a new and long overdue look at an extraordinary moment in the history of Mexican art. It will be the most comprehensive exhibition of Mexican modernism to be seen in the United States in more than seven decades and will feature an extraordinary range of images, from portable murals and large and small paintings to prints and photographs, books and broadsheets. Some of the finest works by Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, including Frida Kahlo and Rufino Tamayo, will be presented, along with works that show the broader panorama of Mexican art during this period, as well as the historical context in which the visual arts played an important role. In this country, Paint the Revolution, will be seen only in Philadelphia before traveling to Mexico City in 2017. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue in English and Spanish.
Liberation of the Peon, 1931, by Diego Rivera (Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Herbert Cameron Morris, 1943-46-1) © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Paint the Revolution is co-organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City. Bank of America is the National Sponsor. In Philadelphia, the exhibition is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation, PECO, Christie’s, Bimbo Bakeries USA, The Mexican Society of Philadelphia in honor of Henry Clifford, and The Annenberg Foundation for Major Exhibitions, with additional support from Barbara B. and Theodore R. Aronson, Martha Hamilton Morris and I. Wistar Morris III, G. Theodore and Nancie Burkett, an anonymous donor, and other generous donors.
Dance in Tehuantepec, 1928, by Diego Rivera (Clarissa and Edgar Bronfman Jr. Collection) © Banco de México Diego Rivera Frida Kahlo Museums Trust, Mexico, D.F./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
The accompanying catalogue in English and Spanish is made possible by the Mary Street Jenkins Foundation. The English language edition is additionally supported by the Davenport Family Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Fund for Scholarly Publications at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and by Furthermore: a program of the J.M. Kaplan Fund. Exhibition travel courtesy of American Airlines
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