The ‘Future’ As Seen by Lawrence Abu Hamdan

The Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo Award Lawrence Abu Hamdan the Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media

The Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo announced that Lawrence Abu Hamdan has been awarded the 2022 Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media. This is the third in an ongoing series of commissions offered jointly by the two institutions to support the creation, production, and acquisition of new work by international artists working in the expanding fields of video, film, performance, and sound. Abu Hamdan has received many accolades and a number of commissions throughout Europe, the Middle East, and the United States. This project, in particular, stands as a singular and significant opportunity that will enable the artist to further develop, refine, and expand his growing practice and the subjects with which he works.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan. Photo by Miro Kuzmanovic. Courtesy of the artist.

Lawrence Abu Hamdan (Lebanese/British, born in Amman 1985) lives and works in Beirut. His work is distinguished by the ways in which he experiments with voice and sound to create complex political narratives. In these he employs surveillance technologies and archival materials to explore the juridical implications of listening and the role of sound as a tool to silence, suppress, and resist. Combining science, journalism, a commitment to social justice, and art, Abu Hamdan’s aural investigations have served as evidence at the UK Asylum and Immigration Tribunal and advocacy for organizations such as Amnesty International. His research has also contributed to the work of the multidisciplinary research group Forensic Architecture.

Performance still from Natq, a live audiovisual essay, 2019, by Lawrence Abu Hamdan. Courtesy of the artist.

For the Future Fields Commission, Abu Hamdan has proposed an installation, tentatively titled How to Hear Impossible Speech: Lessons from the Division of Perceptual Studies, which aims to expand our understanding of testimony and witness through narratives of reincarnation—a belief in the transmigration of the soul from one life to the next. Though distinct from the artist’s more widely known acoustic investigations, this commission will maintain a focus on ideas of resonance as Abu Hamdan charts the transmigration of speech, not through walls, but across time, bodies, and complex histories of unrest, subjugation, and colonization.

Video still from Once Removed, 2019, by Lawrence Abu Hamdan. Commissioned by Sharjah Biennial 14. Courtesy of the artist.

Abu Hamdan is developing the commission in close consultation with Amanda Sroka, the Museum’s Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art, as well as Irene Calderoni, Curator at the Fondazione. The work will premiere at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in spring 2022 and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin during the following winter. It will be jointly acquired by the two institutions.

Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and CEO, Philadelphia Museum of Art, stated: “Lawrence Abu Hamdan has emerged as a powerful voice in contemporary art, and in this regard, he is the perfect choice for our Future Fields Commission. We look forward to the realization of his provocative project proposal, and are delighted both to partner once again with the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, and to share the outcome of our collaborations with visitors.”

Carlos Basualdo, The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, said, “Future Fields is an extraordinary tool to explore contemporary art exactly where it is most vital, in the works of a new generation of artists, across the globe, developing new forms of visual production. We are delighted that Lawrence Abu Hamdan has accepted to be part of the already notable roster of artists that have received the commission.

Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, President of the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, said: “We strongly believe that institutions today have a responsibility to support and foster art practices that are imaginative, daring, and committed, and Future Fields offers us a significant international platform to fulfil this aim. Lawrence Abu Hamdan is one of the most significant and innovative figures of his generation and we look forward to working with him on this ambitious project.”

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Philadelphia Museum of Art will Kick Off the Holidays with its Annual Tree Lighting on Wednesday, November 27, at 5 P.M.

All are welcome to kick off the holiday season with the much-anticipated Tree Lighting against the skyline at the Philadelphia Museum of Art on Wednesday, November 27. Enjoy free live music, complimentary candy canes and warm beverages on the East Terrace starting at 5:00 p.m. With the official countdown set for 5:50 p.m., 12,000 LED lights will illuminate the stately 55-foot-tall white fir on the terrace.

The tree aglow on the museum’s East Terrace with the city skyline in the distance. Photo by Tim Tiebout, courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

The Tree Lighting once again headlines the museum’s holiday program, which continues through the close of 2019 with events ranging from holiday card making, caroling through the galleries, and celebratory dining to a Feliz Navidad Fiesta and a Festival of Lights.

It promises to be a spectacular Tree Lighting, and we invite everyone to join us here at the museum, where admission—following the countdown—will be Pay-What-You-Wish until 8:45 p.m., as it is every Wednesday evening,” said Timothy Rub, the museum’s George D. Widener Director and CEO, who will officiate with the Honorable Jim Kenney, Mayor of Philadelphia. “This event brings out so many families and friends – last year’s Tree Lighting drew a record 3300 well-wishers—and we invite everyone to join us for what promises to be a festive evening full of community spirit.”

The tree aglow on the museum’s East Terrace with the city skyline in the distance. Photo by Tim Tiebout, courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

Mayor Kenney said, “This Tree Lighting ceremony has become a Philadelphia tradition that attracts so many people to our historic museum every year. It looks spectacular, high above the Ben Franklin Parkway. From the look on kids’ faces, it has to be one of the happiest occasions in our city that every Philadelphian can enjoy the day before the iconic Thanksgiving Day Parade. I look forward to taking part in this year’s festivities.”

We’ve been rehearsing our classics like Let It Snow and Jingle Bells but also some of the lesser known Christmas songs, by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald,” said Chelsea Reed of Chelsea Reed and the Fairweather Nine. “I’m so excited to share all of these with the people of Philadelphia!”

Chelsea Reed and the Fair Weather Nine will perform on the museum’s East Terrace during the Tree Lighting Celebration, November 27, 2019. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Inside the museum, right after the Tree Lighting, visitors will be able to stroll through the galleries and public spaces adorned with seasonal decorations and enjoy festive foods and beverages. “Sister Cities Girlchoir is looking forward to performing inside the museum,” said founder Alysia Lee. “There’s no better way to top off Philadelphia’s Tree Lighting than to get warm and cozy in the Great Stair Hall, where the girls will bring their unique blend of songs of empowerment, celebration, and meditation as they perform with such grace under the majestic gilded statue of the Roman goddess Diana.”

Sister Cities Girlchoir will perform in the museum’s Great Stair Hall during the Tree Lighting Celebration, November 27, 2019. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Down at the street level next to Kelly Drive, the newly reopened North Entrance, leading to the celebrated Vaulted Walkway, is already decorated with evergreens for the holidays. Visitors may enter there any time during museum hours and begin their holiday shopping, too, in the new Main Store, access to which paid admission is not required. On November 27, the Store will offer a 20 percent discount from 5 p.m. until 8:45 p.m.

(The museum’s East Entrance remains open during public hours and the West Entrance is now closed until fall 2020.)

A view at sundown of the tree, facing the museum’s East facade. Photo by Tim Tiebout, courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

Each year, the holiday tree provides a magnificent spectacle overlooking the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Planning for its placement requires exceptional coordination. The Philly-bound evergreen makes a 300-mile trip, wheeling in from Hornell, New York, on a flatbed truck. The 7500-pound tree is craned upright upon a platform; it is then unwrapped, branching out to a 25 foot-wide-spread. Next, it is adorned with thousands of lights, each one at .144watts, all powered by (2) 20amp circuits. High on the apex of the tree, a star is placed, measuring 6 feet in diameter and containing 175 lights itself.

Visitors and the tree aglow on the museum’s East Terrace during the Tree Lighting Celebration, 2018. Photo courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

Acquiring and installing the tree and generating the lighting would not be possible without dedicated support. Seasonal decor is generously provided by IBEW, Local 98, Dougherty Electric, Inc., PMC Property Group, and the Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Holidays at the Museum is sponsored by LF Driscoll, with additional support from Dan Lepore & Sons Company, The Berlin Steel Construction Company, JPC Group, Inc., Thomas Company, Tracey Mechanical, Inc., ARC, D.M. Sabia & Company, Inc., Colonial Electric Supply, and Crescent Designed Metals.

Below Is The Full Schedule Of Holiday Events At The Museum To Close Out 2019:

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The Whitney Announces 2020 Exhibition Schedule

It looks as if it will be another banner year of thought-provoking and wide-ranging exhibitions during the coming year at The Whitney Museum of American Art. (And one should not expect any less.) Announcing the schedule for 2020 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Scott Rothkopf, Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator, noted: “In 2020 the Whitney will celebrate its ninetieth anniversary and fifth year downtown, so we’ve created a program that truly honors the spirit of artistic innovation both past and present. We remain focused on supporting emerging and mid-career artists, while finding fresh relevance in historical surveys from across the twentieth century. Also turning ninety, Jasper Johns closes out the year with an unprecedented retrospective that will reveal this American legend as never before to a new generation of audiences.”

Exterior shot of the The Whitney building. Photograph by Ben Gancsos ©2016

On February 17 the Museum opens Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945, a major historical look at the transformative impact of Mexican artists on the direction of American art from the mid-1920s until the end of World War II. On October 28, in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a landmark retrospective of the work of Jasper Johns goes on view simultaneously at both museums, paying tribute to the foremost living American artist. In addition, the Whitney will devote exhibitions to Julie Mehretu and Dawoud Bey, prominent midcareer artists. The Mehretu exhibition, co-organized by the Whitney with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, encompasses over two decades of the artist’s work, presenting the most comprehensive overview of her practice to date. In November, Dawoud Bey, one of the leading photographers of his generation, will receive his first full-scale retrospective, co-organized by the Whitney and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA).

The Whitney Museum of American Art

The Museum will also present Agnes Pelton: Desert Transcendentalist—organized by the Phoenix Art Museum—the first exhibition of work by the visionary symbolist in nearly a quarter century; and Working Together: The Photographers of the Kamoinge Workshop, an unprecedented exhibition organized by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which chronicles the formative years of this collective of Black photographers who lived and worked in New York City. The year will also bring a range of focused exhibitions dedicated to emerging and midcareer artists, including Darren Bader, Jill Mulleady, Cauleen Smith, and Salman Toor, as well as Dave McKenzie and My Barbarian, who continue the Whitney’s commitment to performance and its many forms.

In September the Museum will also unveil David Hammons’s monumental public art installation Day’s End on Gansevoort Peninsula, across the street from the Whitney. The debut of this public artwork will be preceded by an exhibition entitled Around Day’s End: Downtown New York, 1970–1986, which will present a selection of works from the Museum’s collection related to the seminal work that inspired Hammons’s sculpture: Gordon Matta-Clark’s Day’s End (1975).

MAJOR EXHIBITIONS AND EVENTS

Vida Americana: Mexican Muralists Remake American Art, 1925–1945”, February 17–May 17, 2020

Jacob Lawrence. Panel 3 from The Migration Series, From every Southern town migrants left by the hundreds to travel north.,1940–41. Casein tempera on hardboard 12 × 18 in. (30.5 × 45.7 cm). The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC; acquired 1942. © 2019 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

The cultural renaissance that emerged in Mexico in 1920 at the end of that country’s revolution dramatically changed art not just in Mexico but also in the United States. With approximately 200 works by sixty American and Mexican artists, Vida Americana reorients art history, acknowledging the wide-ranging and profound influence of Mexico’s three leading muralists—José Clemente Orozco, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and Diego Rivera—on the style, subject matter, and ideology of art in the United States made between 1925 and 1945. By presenting the art of the Mexican muralists alongside that of their American contemporaries, the exhibition reveals the seismic impact of Mexican art, particularly on those looking for inspiration and models beyond European modernism and the School of Paris.

Diego Rivera. The Uprising, 1931. Fresco on reinforced cement in a galvanized-steel framework, 74 × 94 1/8 in. (188 × 239 cm). Collection of Marcos and Vicky Micha Levy © 2019 Banco de México–Rivera–Kahlo/ARS. Reproduction authorized by the National Institute of Fine Arts and Literature (INBAL), 2019

Works by both well-known and underrecognized American artists will be exhibited, including Thomas Hart Benton, Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron Douglas, Marion Greenwood, Philip Guston, Eitarō Ishigaki, Jacob Lawrence, Isamu Noguchi, Jackson Pollock, Ben Shahn, Thelma Johnson Streat, Charles White, and Hale Woodruff. In addition to Orozco, Rivera, and Siqueiros, other key Mexican artists in the exhibition include Miguel Covarrubias, María Izquierdo, Frida Kahlo, Mardonio Magaña, Alfredo Ramos Martínez, and Rufino Tamayo.

María Izquierdo. My Nieces, 1940. Oil on composition board, 55 1/8 × 39 3/8 in. (140 × 100 cm). Museo Nacional de Arte, INBAL, Mexico City; constitutive collection, 1982 © 2019 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City. Reproduction authorized by El Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura, 2019.

Organized by Barbara Haskell, curator, with Marcela Guerrero, assistant curator; Sarah Humphreville, senior curatorial assistant; and Alana Hernandez, former curatorial project assistant. (See previously-posted article here.)

Julie Mehretu, June 26–September 20, 2020

Julie Mehretu, Invisible Sun (algorithm 4, first letter form), 2014, ink and acrylic on canvas 119 1⁄2 × 167 in., private collection, © Julie Mehretu, photograph by Carolina Merlano
Julie Mehretu, Black City, 2007. Ink and acrylic on canvas, 120 x 192 in. (304.8 x 487.7 cm). François Pinault Collection, Paris | Photo credit: Tim Thayer

This mid-career survey of Julie Mehretu (b. 1970; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia), co-organized by The Whitney with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), covers over two decades of the artist’s career and presents the most comprehensive overview of her practice to date. Featuring approximately forty works on paper and more than thirty paintings dating from 1996 to today, the exhibition includes works ranging from her early focus on drawing and mapping to her more recent introduction of bold gestures, saturated color, and figuration. The exhibition will showcase her commitment to interrogating the histories of art, architecture, and past civilizations alongside themes of migration, revolution, climate change, and global capitalism in the contemporary moment. Julie Mehretu is on view at LACMA November 3, 2019–March 22, 2020, and following its presentation at the Whitney from June 26 through September 20, 2020, the exhibition will travel to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA (October 24, 2020–January 31, 2021); and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN (March 13–July 11, 2021).

Julie Mehretu, Hineni (E. 3:4), 2018, ink and acrylic on canvas, 96 × 120 in., Centre Pompidou, Paris, Musée national d’art moderne/Centre de création industrielle; gift of George Economou, 2019, © Julie Mehretu, photograph by Tom Powel Imaging
Julie Mehretu, Stadia II, 2004, ink and acrylic on canvas, 108 × 144 in., Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, gift of Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn and Nicolas Rohatyn and A. W. Mellon Acquisition Endowment Fund 2004.50, © Julie Mehretu, photograph courtesy of the Carnegie Museum of Art

Julie Mehretu is curated by Christine Y. Kim, associate curator in contemporary art at LACMA, and Rujeko Hockley, assistant curator at the Whitney.

Jasper Johns, Opens October 28, 2020

Jasper Johns (b. 1930), Three Flags, 1958. Encaustic on canvas, 30 5/8 × 45 1/2 × 4 5/8 in. (77.8 × 115.6 × 11.7 cm). Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Gilman Foundation, Inc., The Lauder Foundation, A. Alfred Taubman, Laura-Lee Whittier Woods, Howard Lipman, and Ed Downe in honor of the Museum’s 50th Anniversary 80.32. Art © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Jasper Johns (b. 1930) is arguably the most influential living American artist. Over the past sixty-five years, he has produced a radical and varied body of work marked by constant reinvention. In an unprecedented collaboration, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Whitney will stage a retrospective of Johns’s career simultaneously across the two museums, featuring paintings, sculptures, drawings, and prints, many shown publicly for the first time. Inspired by the artist’s long-standing fascination with mirroring and doubles, the two halves of the exhibition will act as reflections of one another, spotlighting themes, methods, and images that echo across the two venues. A visit to one museum or the other will provide a vivid chronological survey; a visit to both will offer an innovative and immersive exploration of the many phases, facets, and masterworks of Johns’s still-evolving career.

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Major Exhibition, Exploring How Designers Today Are Shaping The Future, To Premiere At The Philadelphia Museum Of Art, October 22, 2019–March 8, 2020

Designs for Different Futures is organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

The role of designers in shaping how we think about the future is the subject of a major exhibition that will premiere at the Philadelphia Museum of Art this fall. Designs for Different Futures (October 22, 2019–March 8, 2020) brings together some 80 works that address the challenges and opportunities that humans may encounter in the years, decades, and centuries ahead. Organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and the Art Institute of Chicago, Designs for Different Futures will be presented at the Walker (September 12, 2020–January 3, 2021) and the Art Institute of Chicago (February 6–May 16, 2021) following its presentation in Philadelphia.

Among the questions today’s designers seek to answer are: What role can technology play in augmenting or replacing a broad range of human activities? Can intimacy be maintained at a distance? How can we negotiate privacy in a world in which the sharing and use of personal information has blurred traditional boundaries? How might we use design to help heal or transform ourselves, bodily and psychologically? How will we feed an ever-growing population?

“Another Generosity,” designed 2018 by Eero Lundén, Ron Aasholm, and Carmen Lee of Lundén Architecture Company in collaboration with Bergent, BuroHappold Engineering, and Aalto University (Courtesy of the designers). Photograph © Andrea Ferro. Image courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

While no one can precisely predict the shape of things to come, the works in the exhibition are firmly fixed on the future, providing design solutions for a number of speculative scenarios. In some instances, these proposals are borne of a sense of anxiety, and in others of a sense of excitement over the possibilities that can be created through the use of innovative materials, new technologies, and, most importantly, fresh ideas.

Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, stated: “We often think of art museums as places that foster a dialogue between the past and the present, but they also can and should be places that inspire us to think about the future and to ask how artists and designers can help us think creatively about it. We are delighted to be able to collaborate with the Walker Art Center and the Art Institute of Chicago on this engaging project, which will offer our visitors an opportunity to understand not only how designers are imagining—and responding to—different visions of the futures, but also to understand just how profoundly forward-looking design contributes in our own time to shaping the world that we occupy and will bequeath as a legacy to future generations.

“PhoeniX Exoskeleton,” designed around 2013 by Dr. Homayoon Kazerooni for suitX (Courtesy of the manufacturer). Photograph ©suitX. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.
Lia: The Flushable and Biodegradable Pregnancy Test,” designed 2018 by Bethany Edwards and Anna Couturier Simpson (Courtesy of the designer). Photograph courtesy of LIA Diagnostics. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

Thinking about the future has always been part of the human condition. It has also been a perennial field of inquiry for designers and architects whose speculations on this subject—ranging from the concrete to the whimsical—can profoundly affect how we imagine what is to come. Among the many forward-looking projects on view, visitors to Designs for Different Futures will encounter lab-grown food, robotic companions, family leave policy proposals, and textiles made of seaweed.

Some of these possibilities will come to fruition, while others will remain dreams or even threats,” said Kathryn Hiesinger, the J. Mahlon Buck, Jr. Family Senior Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700, who coordinated the exhibition in Philadelphia with former assistant curator Michelle Millar Fisher. “We’d like visitors to join us as we present designs that consider the possible, debate the inevitable, and weigh the alternatives. This exhibition explores how design—understood expansively—can help us all grapple with what might be on the horizon and allows our imaginations to take flight.”

Alien Nation: Parade 0,” designed 2017 by Lisa Hartje Moura for HEAD-Genève (Private Collection) Photograph © Head-Genève, Michel Giesbrecht, 2017. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

The exhibition is divided into 11 thematic sections. In Resources, visitors will encounter an inflatable pod measuring 15 feet in diameter, part of the work Another Generosity first created in 2018 by Finnish architect Eero Lundén and designed in this incarnation in collaboration with Ron Aasholm and Carmen Lee. The pod slowly expands and contracts in the space, responding to changing levels of carbon dioxide as visitors exhale around it, and provoking questions about the ongoing effect of the human footprint on the environment.

“Svalbard Global Seed Vault,” designed 2008 by Peter W. Søderman, Barlindhaug Consulting (Exhibition display courtesy of USDA Agricultural Research Service, National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation). Photograph courtesy of Global Crop Diversity Trust. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.
Recyclable and Rehealable Electronic Skin,” designed 2018 by Jianliang Xiao and Wei Zhang (Courtesy of the designer). Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019

The section titled Generations will explore ways in which the choices we make today may contribute to the well-being or suffering of those who come after us. Here, visitors will find a model of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a repository that stores the world’s largest collection of crop seeds. Located within a mountain on a remote island near the Arctic Circle, the facility is designed to withstand natural or human-made disasters. The Earths section of the exhibition speculates on the challenges of extra-terrestrial communication in Lisa Moura’s Alien Nations installation and showcases typeface from the 2016 science-fiction film Arrival.

“Future Library,” 2014–2114, designed by Katie Paterson (Exhibition display gift of the Future Library Trust, 2018 and purchased with the European Decorative Arts Revolving Fund, 2018). Photograph © Bjørvika Utvikling by Kristin von Hirsch, 2017. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

In Bodies, designers grapple with choices about how our physical and psychological selves might look, feel, and function in different future scenarios. Featured here is one of the world’s lightest and most advanced exoskeletons, designed to help people with mobility challenges remain upright and active. Also notable is the CRISPR Kit, an affordable and accessible gene-editing toolbox, which has the potential to revolutionize biomedical research and open opportunities for gene therapy and genetic engineering.

“ZXX Typeface,” designed 2012, by Sang Mun (Courtesy of the designer). Photograph © Sang Mun. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

Intimacies is a section that explores how technologies and online interfaces may affect love, family, and community. Here, urban experiences of sex and love are the focus of Andrés Jaque’s Intimate Strangers, an audio-visual installation focusing on the gay dating app. Through internet-enabled devices, designers explore the possibility of digitally mediated love and sex, suggesting what advanced digital networks hold for human sexuality.

Cricket Shelter: Modular Edible Insect Farm,” designed 2016 by Mitchell Joachim (Courtesy of the designer). Photograph © Mitchell Joachim, Terreform ONE. Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

Foods contains projects that explore the future of the human diet. Among them is a modular edible-insect farm, Cricket Shelter, by Terreform ONE, which offers a ready source of protein for impending food crises. A kitchen installation suggests how technology and design may contribute to new modes of food production, including an Ouroboros Steak made from human cells.

“Circumventive Organs, Electrostabilis Cardium (film still),” designed 2013 by Agi Haines (Courtesy of the designer). Image courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

Additional sections of the exhibition will focus on the future of Jobs and how Cities will function and look 100 years from now—with robotic baby feeders, driverless cars, and other developments—affording a glimpse at how we might navigate living beyond this planet. Shoes grown from sweat are among the innovations visitors will find in a section devoted to Materials, while Power will look at how design may affect our citizenship and help us retain agency over such essentials as our DNA, our voices, and our electronic communications in a future where the lines between record-keeping, communication, and surveillance blur. Data acknowledges and questions the different ways that information might be collected and used, with all its inherent biases and asymmetries, to shape different futures.

Raising Robotic Natives,” designed 2016 by Stephen Bogner, Philipp Schmitt, and Jonas Voigt (Courtesy of the designers) Photograph © Stephan Bogner, Philipp Schmitt, and Jonas Voigt. Image courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

The curatorial team is comprised of: at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Kathryn B. Hiesinger, The J. Mahlon Buck, Jr. Family Senior Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700, and Michelle Millar Fisher, formerly The Louis C. Madeira IV Assistant Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700; At the Walker Art Center, Emmet Byrne, Design Director and Associate Curator of Design; and at the Art Institute of Chicago, Maite Borjabad López-Pastor, Neville Bryan Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design, and Zoë Ryan, the John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design. Consulting curators are Andrew Blauvelt, Director, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and Curator-at-Large, Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Colin Fanning, Independent Scholar, Bard Graduate Center, New York; and Orkan Telhan, Associate Professor of Fine Arts (Emerging Design Practices), University of Pennsylvania School of Design, Philadelphia.

Kathryn B. Hiesinger is the J. Mahlon Buck, Jr. Family Senior Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her work focuses on decorative arts and design from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and includes the exhibitions and publications Zaha Hadid: Form in Motion (2011), Out of the Ordinary: The Architecture and Design of Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and Associates (2001), Japanese Design: A Survey since 1950 (1994) and Design since 1945 (1983).

Michelle Millar Fisher is the Ronald C. and Anita L Wornick Curator of Contemporary Decorative Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She is a graduate of the University of Glasgow, Scotland, and is currently completing her doctorate in architectural history at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the co-author, with Paola Antonelli, of Items: Is Fashion Modern? (2017).

Emmet Byrne is the Design Director and Associate Curator of Design at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. He provides creative leadership and strategic direction for the Walker in all areas of visual communication, branding, publishing, while overseeing the award-winning in-house design studio. He was one of the founders of the Task Newsletter in 2009 and is the creator of the Walker’s Intangibles platform.

Maite Borjabad López-Pastor is the Neville Bryan Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago. She is an architect and curator educated at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid and Columbia University, New York. She is the author and curator of Scenographies of Power: From the State of Exception to the Spaces of Exception (2017). Her work revolves around diverse forms of critical spatial practices, operating across architecture, art, and performance.

Zoë Ryan is the John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design at the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the editor of As Seen: Exhibitions That Made Architecture and Design History (2017) and curator of In a Cloud, in a Wall, in a Chair: Six Modernists in Mexico at Midcentury (2019) and the 2014 Istanbul Design Biennial, The Future is Not What it Used to Be. Her projects explore the impact of architecture and design on society.

Centered on the innovative contemporary design objects, projects, and speculations of the exhibition’s checklist, the accompanying volume proposes design as a means through which to understand, question, and negotiate individual and collective futures, giving provocative voice to the most urgent issues of today. It asks readers to contemplate the design context within broader historical, social, political, and aesthetic spectrums. Designs for Different Futures addresses futures near and far, exploring such issues as human-digital interaction, climate change, political and social inequality, resource scarcity, transportation, and infrastructure.

The primary authors are Kathryn B. Hiesinger, Michelle Millar Fisher, Emmet Byrne, Maite Borjabad López-Pastor, and Zoë Ryan, with Andrew Blauvelt, Colin Fanning, Orkan Telhan, Juliana Rowen Barton, and Maude de Schauensee. Additional contributions include texts by V. Michael Bove Jr. and Nora Jackson, Christina Cogdell, Marina Gorbis, Srećko Horvat, Bruno Latour, Marisol LeBrón, Ezio Manzini, Chris Rapley, Danielle Wood, LinYee Yuan, and Emma Yann Zhang; and interviews with Gabriella Coleman, Formafantasma (Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin), Aimi Hamraie and Jillian Mercado, Francis Kéré, David Kirby, Helen Kirkum, Alexandra Midal, Neri Oxman, and Eyal Weizman.

Designs for Different Futures will be distributed by Yale University Press. The book was overseen by Philadelphia Museum of Art publishing director Katie Reilly and editors Katie Brennan and Kathleen Krattenmaker. It is designed by Ryan Gerald Nelson, Senior Graphic Designer at the Walker Art Center, under the direction of Walker design director Emmet Byrne.

Futures Therapy Lab

As part of the exhibition, visitors to the Philadelphia Museum of Art galleries will also encounter a space for community meetups, public programs, school visits, and self-directed activities. The Futures Therapy Lab will weave personal connections between visitors and the exhibition as part of a collaboration between the museum’s Education Department and the curatorial team. Weekly programs, many of which will occur on Pay-What-You-Wish Wednesday Nights, will connect visitors with designers, artists, and locally based creatives. The Futures Therapy Lab will contain a crowdsourced Futures Library that includes everything from science-fiction books to the exhibition catalogue. “Thinking about possible futures is both exhilarating and anxiety-provoking,” said Emily Schreiner, the Zoë and Dean Pappas Curator of Education, Public Programs. “The Futures Therapy Lab is a place for conversation, critique, and creativity in which visitors can imagine their own hopes, fears and solutions for the future through reflection, discussion, and art making.”

View Full Schedule of Related Public Programs

In Philadelphia, this exhibition is generously supported by the Annenberg Foundation Fund for Major Exhibitions, the Robert Montgomery Scott Endowment for Exhibitions, the Kathleen C. and John J.F. Sherrerd Fund for Exhibitions, Lisa Roberts and David Seltzer in Honor of Collab’s 50th Anniversary, the Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Laura and William C. Buck Endowment for Exhibitions, the Harriet and Ronald Lassin Fund for Special Exhibitions, the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund, and an anonymous donor.

Related Programs

The Futures Therapy Lab will host a series of weekly happenings:

Artists in the Lab

Artists and designers share their work through talks, demonstrations, and workshops. Wednesday Nights, 5:00–8:45 p.m.

The Designer is In

Talk it out. One-on-one sessions with local designers offer new perspectives on your everyday life. Thursdays & Saturdays, 2:00–4:00 p.m.

Sci-Fi Sundays

Drop-in readings that explore narratives of the future. Select Sundays, 2:00–3:00pm

Philadelphia Museum of Art to Present Celebrated Film Trilogy and New Performance by Artist Yael Bartana

This fall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will premiere Bury Our Weapons, Not Our Bodies!, a new site-specific public performance by acclaimed Israeli-born artist Yael Bartana. Scheduled to take place on September 22, 2018 (through to January 1, 2019) at the Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, this performance will be presented as part of a solo exhibition at the Museum dedicated to the artist’s provocative film trilogy, And Europe Will Be Stunned (2007-2011). Marking its Philadelphia debut, this trilogy will be an immersive installation in the Joan Spain Gallery of the Museum’s Perelman Building.

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Portrait of Yael Bartana. Photo by Birgit Kaulfuss. Image courtesy of the artist and Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2018.

Born in 1970 in Kfar Yehezkel, Israel, Yael Bartana lives and works in Berlin and Amsterdam. In her films, installations, and photographs, Bartana investigates the ideas of homeland, return, and belonging, often in ceremonies, memorials, public rituals, and actions that are intended to reaffirm and question collective identities and ideas of the nation or the state.

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Image from “Zamach (Assassination),” 2011, by Yael Bartana. From the trilogy “And Europe Will Be Stunned.” (Collection of both the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; purchased by the PMA with funds contributed by Nancy M. Berman and Alan Bloch and the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, and the Committee on Modern and Contemporary Art; and purchased by the WAC, T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 2013). Image courtesy of the artist and Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2018.

Taking the complex history of Jewish-Polish identity as its point of departure, And Europe Will Be Stunned addresses the themes of nationhood, memory, and belonging that are integral to Bartana’s work. It first debuted at the Venice Biennale in 2011, where Bartana represented Poland. Shortly thereafter, the trilogy was jointly acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Employing a visual vocabulary reminiscent of Stalinist and Zionist propaganda of the early 20th century, And Europe Will be Stunned chronicles the radical program of a fictional political movement called the Jewish Renaissance Movement in Poland (JRMiP). Created by Bartana, together with Polish activist Sławomir Sierakowski, the JRMiP advocates for the return of over three million Jews to their forgotten Polish homeland. Informed by the histories of the Israeli settlement movement, Zionism, anti-Semitism, and the Palestinian right of return, the trilogy uses the real and the imagined to speak to global complexities about identity and self-determination in an increasingly unstable world.

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Still from “Mur i wieża (Wall and Tower),” 2009, by Yael Bartana. From the trilogy “And Europe Will Be Stunned.” (Collection of both the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; purchased by the PMA with funds contributed by Nancy M. Berman and Alan Bloch and the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, and the Committee on Modern and Contemporary Art; and purchased by the WAC, T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 2013). Image courtesy of the artist and Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2018.

Beyond the walls of the Philadelphia Museum, Bartana will realize Bury Our Weapons, Not Our Bodies! as a means of extending the themes of the artist’s trilogy into the birthplace of American democracy – Philadelphia. Bartana’s performance is a call to action, aiming to make visible the systems of violence and displacement that have been perpetuated through weapons, both literal and symbolic. As the title suggests, the performance will bury these weapons, rendering them useless, as they are incorporated into a choreographed funeral—a living monument—that will include a staged procession and a collective eulogy about war and survival. The movements of the performers are inspired by those of Israeli artist and dance composer Noa Eshkol (1924-2007), specifically evoking Eshkol’s 1953 memorial assembly performed in remembrance to the Holocaust. Bringing together funerary tradition, military ritual, and personal testimony, Bartana’s new performance will deepen the artist’s investigations into the construction of memory and the aesthetics of national identity.

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Still from “Mary Koszmary (Nightmares),” 2007, by Yael Bartana. From the trilogy “And Europe Will Be Stunned.” (Collection of both the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; purchased by the PMA with funds contributed by Nancy M. Berman and Alan Bloch and the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, and the Committee on Modern and Contemporary Art; and purchased by the WAC, T. B. Walker Acquisition Fund, 2013). Image courtesy of the artist and Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2018.

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“Little Ladies: Victorian Fashion Dolls and the Feminine Ideal” at The Philadelphia Museum of Art

This fall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will present Little Ladies: Victorian Fashion Dolls and the Feminine Ideal, (November 11, 2018 – March 3, 2019, Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, first floor) an exhibition starring four extraordinary dolls and their extravagant wardrobes. Known as Miss Fanchon, Miss G. Townsend, Miss French Mary, and Marie Antoinette, they were made in France in the 1860s and 1870s. The ultimate toys for privileged girls of this period, these dolls reflected the world of adult fashion, being fully equipped with miniature versions of the myriad garments, accessories, and other personal possessions of a well-to-do Victorian lady. As models of womanhood, these fashion dolls represented Victorian culture, when most believed that the aim of a girl’s life was to marry and raise children, and women were exhorted to dress well, follow the strictures of contemporary etiquette, and excel in their proper sphere of domestic and social duties.

The dolls, which measure between 18 to 22 inches in height and have painted bisque heads, leather bodies, and hair wigs, come with tiny accouterments that are notable for their number, detail, and variety. Miss Fanchon’s trunk, for example, contains over 150 objects, including eighteen dresses, and her gloves, which measure just over two inches tall, have all the features of full-size gloves, including gussets, points, and button closures.

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Three doll dresses from Miss Fanchon’s wardrobe, late 1860s-1870s, possibly France. Gift of Gardner H. Nicholas in memory of Mrs. Gardner H. Nicholas, 1922-58-9a—c, 14a,b,3.

The dolls are furnished with dresses for every occasion, from housework to fancy social events, as well as undergarments (chemises, drawers, petticoats, corsets, hoop skirts, bustles, and even tiny dress shields), outerwear, and accessories including bonnets, hair ornaments, jewelry, fans, and footwear.

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Miss Fanchon’s Gloves, late 1860s-1870s, France. Gift of Gardner H. Nicholas in memory of Mrs. Gardner H. Nicholas, 1922-58-109a,b. Doll’s Handbag, late 1860s-1870s, France. Gift of Mrs. William Hill Steeble and Martha B. Newkirk in memory of their mother, Mrs. I. Roberts Newkirk, 1977-189-4aa.

In addition to personal care items such as a toothbrushes, combs, and mirrors, two dolls are provided with clothes hangers (not yet common in full-size households), while the plethora of other objects includes tiny books, visiting cards, a photo album, sewing kit, sheet music, writing set, alarm clock, newspaper, opera glasses, and even roller skates.

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Doll’s Sewing Equipment, late 1860s-1870s, France. Gift of Edward Starr, Jr., 1976-58- 9Ah1-7 and Gift of Mrs. William Hill Steeble and Martha B. Newkirk in memory of their mother, Mrs. I. Roberts Newkirk, 1977-189-4y.

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Philadelphia Museum of Art To Exhibit Agnes Martin Works From The Daniel W. Dietrich II Collection

This spring, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will present, “Agnes Martin: The Untroubled Mind” (Gallery 174) on view May 19-October 14, 2018, an intimately scaled installation featuring four paintings by Agnes Martin from the bequest of the late philanthropist, Daniel W. Dietrich II, a crucial supporter of the artist’s career. Three of these paintings date to the mid-1960s, and the fourth to 1985. They will be exhibited with additional works on paper and sculpture that Dietrich collected. This installation will explore the ideas that inform Martin’s minimalist art and reflect upon the enduring friendship that existed between a major artist and her patron.

Hill, 1967, by Agnes Martin

Hill, 1967, by Agnes Martin, American (born Canada), 1912 – 2004. Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 6 feet × 6 feet (182.9 × 182.9 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Daniel W. Dietrich II, 2016-3-20. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, said: “Dan was a generous philanthropist and an admirer and avid collector of Martin’s work. He supported her first major mid-career retrospective in 1973 at the Institute of Contemporary Art here in Philadelphia. From that seminal moment onward, he continued to champion her work and added superb examples to his private collection. This installation provides a unique opportunity to understand the nature of Martin’s contribution to contemporary art and to understand how aspects of Dietrich’s transformative gift fit so well into our collection.”

Leaf, 1965, Agnes Martin

Leaf, 1965, Agnes Martin, American (born Canada), 1912 – 2004. Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 6 feet × 6 feet (182.9 × 182.9 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Daniel W. Dietrich II, 2016-3-21. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Play II, 1966, by Agnes Martin

Play II, 1966, by Agnes Martin, American (born Canada), 1912 – 2004. Acrylic and graphite on canvas, 6 feet × 6 feet (182.9 × 182.9 cm). Philadelphia Museum of Art: Bequest of Daniel W. Dietrich II, 2016-3-22. © Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Martin created each of the paintings that will be on view—Leaf (1965), Play II (1966), Hill (1967) and Untitled #6 (1985)— using acrylic paint and graphite. These works, each six-feet square, will be complemented in the installation by another painting in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Rose (1965), a centennial gift of the Woodward Foundation in 1975, of the same medium and size. Continue reading