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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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 Presents Major Exhibition Highlighting The Art to Wear Movement

This fall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art presents Off the Wall: American Art to Wear, (November 10, 2019 – May 17, 2020) a major exhibition that highlights a distinctive American art movement that emerged in the late 1960s and flourished during the following decades. It examines a generation of pioneering artists who used body-related forms to express a personal vision and frames their work in relation to the cultural, historical and social concerns of their time. Focusing on iconic works made during the three decades between 1967 and 1997, the exhibition features over 130 one-of-a-kind works by more than sixty artists. Comprised primarily of selections from a promised gift of Julie Schafler Dale, it will also include works from the museum’s collection and loans from private collections. Off the Wall: American Art to Wear is accompanied by a new publication of the same title, co-published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Yale University Press.

Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and CEO, said: “This exhibition will introduce to our visitors an exceptionally creative and adventurous aspect of American art which took the body as a vehicle for its expression. We are not only deeply grateful to Julie Dale for her extraordinary gifts and support of the museum but also see this as an opportunity to acknowledge the dynamic role she played in nurturing the growth and development of this movement.”

Susanna Lewis, Moth Cape, 1979. Machine knitted, appliquéd wool; beads. Promised gift of The Julie Schafler Dale Collection.

The champions of Art to Wear during the early years were a few forward-thinking museums, among them New York’s Museum of Contemporary Crafts (Museum of Art and Design), collectors, and galleries such as Sandra Sakata’s Obiko, founded in 1972 in San Francisco, and Julie Schafler Dale’s Julie: Artisans Gallery, which opened the following year on Madison Avenue in New York. For over 40 years, Dale’s gallery was a premier destination for presenting one-of-a-kind wearable works by American artists. Through her gallery installations and rotating window displays, she gave visibility to the Art to Wear movement. In 1986, she brought further recognition to the art form by publishing the seminal book Art to Wear—from which the title of this exhibition is taken—which provided in-depth profiles of artists alongside photographs by Brazilian fashion photographer Otta Stupakoff. Dale’s gallery closed in 2013.

Bill Cunningham, Griffin Mask, 1963. Molded, stitched, and glued feathers, sparterie, wire, jersey, and velour. Promised gift of The Julie Schafler Dale Collection.

Off the Wall is arranged in nine sections; the titles of some are derived from popular music of the ‘60s and ‘70s to suggest the wide-ranging concerns of the artists. The introductory section, The Times They Are A Changin’ (Bob Dylan, 1964), contains works by Lenore Tawney, Dorian Zachai, Claire Zeisler, Ed Rossbach, and Debra Rapoport to illustrate how textile artists in the late ‘50s and ‘60s liberated tapestry weaving from the wall, adapting it to three-dimensional sculptural forms inspired by pre-Columbian weaving.

Dina Knapp, See It Like a Native: History Kimono #1, 1982. Painted, appliquéd, and Xerox-transferred cotton, polyester, plastic, and paper. Promised gift of Julie Schafler Dale Collection.
Ana Lisa Hedstrom, Pieced Silk Faille Kimono, circa 1992. Pieced shibori dyed silk pique weave. The Julie Schafler Dale Collection.
Tim Harding, Garden: Field of Flowers, 1991. Quilted, layered, slashed and rayed cotton. 56 x 67 x 3 inches. Museum of Arts and Design, New York.

In 1969, a group of five students at Pratt Institute studying painting, sculpture, industrial design, multimedia, and graphic design taught each other how to crochet, leading to remarkable outcomes. Janet Lipkin, Jean Cacicedo, Marika Contompasis, Sharron Hedges, and Dina Knapp all created clothing-related forms that they would describe as wearable sculpture, thus establishing a cornerstone of the Art to Wear movement. A highlight in this section is a wool crochet and knit Samurai Top, 1972, by Sharron Hedges, modeled by the young Julie Dale for the book Creative Crochet, authored by two of the artist’s friends, Nicki Hitz Edson and Arlene Stimmel.

Sharron Hedges, Midnight Sky (Julie’s Coat), 1977. Wool, crocheted. Promised gift of The Julie Schafler Dale Collection. Photography by Otto Stupakoff ©Julie Schafler Dale.

The next section, Good Vibrations (Beach Boys, 1966), traces the migration of many of these young artists from the East Coast to the West Coast where they joined California’s vibrant artistic community and connected with Sandra Sakata’s Obiko. A pair of colorful denim hand-embroidered mini shorts by Anna VA Polesny embroidered while traveling conveys this new youthful spirit. Pacific Rim influences are evident in the Japanese kimono form as a blank canvas offering infinite possibilities for pattern and design. Katherine Westpahl’s indigo blue resist-dyed cotton work, A Fantasy Meeting of Santa Claus with Big Julie and Tyrone at McDonald’s, 1978, and Janet Lipkin’s Mexico at Midday, a coat made in 1988 are exceptional examples. A range of counter-culture influences, evoking ceremony and spirituality, pervade this section.

Ben Compton, Ivory Gypsy, 1974. Cotton Kota-weave, batiste, crochet lace, and ball fringe; nylon braid; hand-block printed, partially bleached and over-dyed, tie-dyed, appliquéd, and hand-and machine sewn. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Gift of Anne Byrne Kronenfeld. Photography by Otto Stupakoff ©Julie Schafler Dale.

Come Together (The Beatles, 1969) responds to the popular use of assemblage in art-making, especially the use of nontraditional materials. It also looks at the art of performance, reflected in Ben Compton and Marian Clayden’s Nocturnal Moth, 1974, inspired by Federico Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita (1960). “Mother Earth,” a nod to the publication Mother Earth News Magazine, looks to nature and environmental concerns while This Land is Your Land (Woodie Guthrie, 1940) explores iconic American imagery including reference to the American West and Native American cultures. Examples in this section include Joan Ann Jablow’s Big Bird cape, 1977, made entirely of recycled bird feathers, and Joan Steiner’s Manhattan Collar, 1979, which reimagines New York’s skyline in miniature.

Joan Ann Jablow, Big Bird, 1977. Feathers, wool knit, silk/polyester. Courtesy Harrie George Schloss. Photography by Otto Stupakoff ©Julie Schafler Dale.
Susanna Lewis, Off We Go into the Wild Blue Yonder, 1977. Knitted and appliquéd wool, rayon, angora, satin, and lamé. Private Collection.
Nina Vivian Huryn, Tree Outfit, 1976. Tooled, painted, laced, and stitched leather, suede, antique shoe buttons, and satin. Promised gift of The Julie Schafler Dale Collection. Photography by Otto Stupakoff ©Julie Schafler Dale.

Other Worlds explores fantasy and science fiction, two genres that offered young people an escape from the period’s cultural and political upheavals. Noteworthy here are works by Jean Cacicedo and Nina Huryn, both of whom riff on one of the most widely read English language books at the time, J.R.R. Tolkien’s trilogy Lord of the Rings (1965). Cacicedo responded with a portrait of Treebeard, 1973, a Tolkien character, while Huryn created her own fantasy world in Tree Outfit, with its flowing pants, loose shirt and leather sleeveless jacket containing forest and folklore imagery, a work made especially for Julie: Artisans Gallery in 1976. Other artists turned to dreams, such as Susanna Lewis, who created Moth Cape, 1979, in response to a nightmare that she had of a giant moth enveloping her body.

Debra Rapoport, Epaulets and Hood, 2017. Cardboard, used tea bags, egg cartons, paper, cork, feather. Courtesy of the artist.
Janet Lipkin, Flamingo Jacket, 1982. Hand-dyed, machine-knitted, and stuffed wool and angora. Promised gift of The Julie Schafler Dale Collection. Photography by Otto Stupakoff ©Julie Schafler Dale.
Sheila Perez Ghidini, Combat Vest, circa 1985. Molded plastic figures on quilted plain weave supplemental warp and weft patterning. Promised gift of The Julie Schafler Dale Collection.

A section called I Am Woman (Helen Reddy, 1971) underscores the ways in which artists invoked feminism directly and indirectly in Art to Wear. Janet Lipkin, for example, invested her works with symbols of freedom while searching for new directions in her life, as seen in Bird Coat, 1972, Flamingo, 1982, and Transforming Woman, 1992. Other works like Combat Vest, 1985, by Sheila Perez, feature plastic toy soldiers as protective armor for the chest area, while Nicki Hitz Edson’s Medusa Mask, 1975, is a wild expression of fraught emotions surrounding the breakup of her marriage.

Nicki Hitz Edson, Medusa Mask, 1975. Crocheted wool. Promised gift of The Julie Schafler Dale Collection.
Jo-Ellen Trilling, Preposition Jacket, 1989. Tinted and ink drawings on cotton canvas, pieced silk plain weave, rayon binding appliqué, plastic and metal skeletons appliqué and pendants. Promised gift of The Julie Schafler Dale Collection.

Colour My World (Chicago, 1970) reflects the buoyant rainbow color spectrum that was ubiquitous during this era. Recently published works on color theory by Johannes Itten and Josef Albers provided a cornerstone of the new art education. For Linda Mendelson, color, typography, and text became inseparable. She adapted Albers’s ideas relating to after-images in Big Red, and linked color progression with lines from a poem titled Coat by William Butler Yeats from which she drew inspiration. Other artists such as Tim Harding created an effect similar to impressionist brush strokes by slashing and fraying dyed fabrics, as seen in his colorful coat Garden: Field of Flowers, 1991.

Linda J. Mendelson, In Kyo-Kawara, 2015, Wool machine knitted, plastic buttons. Promised gift of The Julie Schaffler Dale Collection.

The final section Everybody’s Talkin’ (Harry Nilsson, 1969) explores the use of text in Art to Wear. JoEllen Trilling engages in visual word play using common prepositions on a jacket, while Jean Cacicedo channels her grief over her father’s death using words taken from the bible that celebrated his life in My Father’s House, 1994.

Anna VA Polesny, International Levi’s, 1973. Denim hand embroidered with cotton thread. Promised gift of The Julie Schafler Dale Collection. Photography by Otto Stupakoff ©Julie Schafler Dale.

Dilys Blum, The Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costumes and Textiles, who organized the exhibition, said: “We are looking back at this period with a fresh lens through which to consider a uniquely American art form that continues to have a worldwide influence. With roots and connections in fine arts, fiber art, craft, performance and fashion, there are so many important artists to appreciate. For this reason I am delighted by the opportunity to cast a light on such extraordinary talents, including so many adventurous women who deserve much greater recognition.”

Off the Wall: American Art to Wear is accompanied by a new publication of the same name co-published the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Yale University Press, co-authored by exhibition curators Dilys E. Blum, The Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costumes and Textiles at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and independent textile scholar and curator Mary Schoeser, with a contribution written by Julie Schafler Dale. The volume provides the social, political, and artistic context for Art to Wear. ISBN 9780876332917.

Curators: Dilys Blum, The Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles and Mary Schoeser, Independent Textile Historian and Curator

This exhibition has been made possible by Julie Schafler Dale, PNC, The Coby Foundation, the Arlin and Neysa Adams Endowment Fund, Catherine and Laurence Altman, the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and other generous donors.

‘Modern Times: American Art 1910-1950’ at The Philadelphia Museum of Art

The Exhibition Explores The Creative Responses Of American Artists To The Rapid Pace Of Change During The Early Twentieth Century And The New Visual Language That Emerged.

From the Lake No. 3, 1924, by Georgia O'Keeffe

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

This spring, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will present an exhibition exploring the creative responses of American artists to the rapid pace of change that occurred in this country during the early decades of the twentieth century. Modern Times: American Art 1910–1950 (April 18—September 3, 2018, Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, first floor) examines the new and dynamic visual language that emerged during this period and had a dramatic impact on painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography, architecture and the decorative arts.PMAhorizontal

These developments were shaped by the dizzying transformations then occurring in every aspect of life, from the advent of the automobile and moving pictures to the rapid growth of American cities and the wrenching economic change brought on by the advent of the Great Depression after a decade of unprecedented prosperity. The exhibition will feature important works by those artists—Georgia O’Keeffe, Marsden Hartley, Arthur Dove, and John Marin, among them—championed by the great photographer and gallerist Alfred Stieglitz, as well as many other notable figures of this period. Modern Times will be drawn almost entirely from the Museum’s renowned collection, especially the gift from the Stieglitz Collection that it received in the late 1940s, and will contain some 160 works, several of which will be on view for the first time.

Sixth Avenue and Thirtieth Street, 1907, by John Sloan

Sixth Avenue and Thirtieth Street, 1907, by John Sloan, American, 1871 – 1951. Oil on canvas, 24 1/4 x 32 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Meyer P. Potamkin and Vivian O. Potamkin, 2000. 1964-116-5. The White Way, c. 1926, by John Sloan, American, 1871 – 1951. Oil on canvas, 30 1/8 x 32 1/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art: Gift of Mrs. Cyrus McCormick, 1946-10-2.

Burlesque, c. 1922, by Thomas Hart Benton

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

A.D. 1914, 1914, by May Ray, American

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

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

Birds in Flight, c. 1927-1929, by Aaron Douglas

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

Chinese Music, 1923, by Arthur Dove

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

Painting No. 4 (A Black Horse), 1915, by Marsden Hartley

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

Pertaining to Yachts and Yachting, 1922, by Charles Sheeler

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

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

Portrait of Carl Zigrosser (1891 – 1975), c. 1928, by Alexander Calder

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

Portrait of James Baldwin, 1945, by Beauford Delaney

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

Portrait of John with Hat, 1935, by Alice Neel

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

PSFS Building, Philadelphia, c.1932 - 1933, by Lloyd Ullberg

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

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

Philadelphia Museum of Art to Present New Work by Rachel Rose

Philadelphia Museum of Art Presents a New Work by Rachel Rose, On View May 2 through August 18, 2018

Rose is the Inaugural Recipient of The Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media Grant

The Philadelphia Museum of Art will present a new video installation by Rachel Rose, the inaugural recipient of the Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media, which has been jointly awarded to the artist by the Museum and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. A project under development for nearly two years, this commission represents the most ambitiously scaled production in the artist’s career to date, leading to the creation of a work that will enter the collections of these two institutions. Titled Wil-o-Wisp, Rose’s work will be on view from May 2 through August 18, 2018, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It will then travel to the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin, Italy, where it will open in November.

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Production image from Wil-o-Wisp, 2018, by Rachel Rose (Jointly owned and commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. Funding is made possible for the Philadelphia Museum of Art through the Contemporary Art Revolving Fund). Photo by Nancy Green, on-site at Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts, 2017.

Timothy Rub, the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer, stated: “Seeing this project evolve since the awarding of the commission has been deeply gratifying. It demonstrates just how vital it is for institutions like ours to support emerging talent at precisely the time when such support is needed. This collaboration with our partners in Turin has also provided a wonderful opportunity to expand and strengthen our engagement with contemporary art.”

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Production image from Wil-o-Wisp, 2018, by Rachel Rose (Jointly owned and commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. Funding is made possible for the Philadelphia Museum of Art through the Contemporary Art Revolving Fund). Photo by Nancy Green, on-site at Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts, 2017.

In 2016, the two esteemed arts and culture organizations established the Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media as a collaborative initiative to jointly commission and acquire new work by artists from around the world who are active in video, film, performance, and sound. The Commission supports the creation and production of a new work every two years that will be presented at both the Museum and the Fondazione. With its unique focus and its commitment to the joint acquisition of the works produced with the support of this initiative, the commission aims to give unprecedented opportunities to international artists who are exploring new territory in these experimental modes of contemporary art. Rachel Rose is the inaugural recipient.

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Production image from Wil-o-Wisp, 2018, by Rachel Rose (Jointly owned and commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. Funding is made possible for the Philadelphia Museum of Art through the Contemporary Art Revolving Fund). Photo by Nancy Green, on-site at Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts, 2017.

Rachel Rose has emerged as an important voice in contemporary video, widely recognized for her deft digital editing that aligns disparate visual images and historical references. This new commission has provided her with an opportunity to widen the scope of her interests by investigating narrative devices and story-telling. In Wil-o-Wisp, the artist has directed a live action video in which a woman’s fate becomes inextricably tied to moments of upheaval, suspicion, and persecution in 16th century agrarian England, a time during which the Enclosure Movement led to the privatization of land throughout the country. The video follows various vignettes of Elspeth’s life, cycling between familial moments and tragedy, the practice of magic and her persecution.PMAhorizontal

Rose strings dramatic moments together with temporal shifts, varying rhythms, an emotive score, and carefully constructed visual effects. The work reflects upon the harsh realities of English rural life during a time of a rising culture of suspicion in which women, such as Elspeth, engaging in nontraditional healing practices were often seen as threatening to an increasingly regulated society. The title of the work, Wil-o-Wisp, refers to ghostly lights that could be seen hovering at night over bogs and marshes and that, in folklore, could have the sinister effect of leading people astray. In Rose’s work, the title speaks to the characters whose paths are determined both by willful choices and the power of coincidence.

Directing a cast and crew of about thirty people, Rose shot the work at Plimoth Plantation, a living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts, that offered a period setting of houses in an English vernacular style and an austere winter landscape. Working with both trained and street-cast actors, as well as Plimoth Plantation guides, Rose both utilized the character of the site and added to it, creating her own imagined world within this setting. From costumes to set decorations, Rose combined period and contemporary materials.

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Production image from Wil-o-Wisp, 2018, by Rachel Rose (Jointly owned and commissioned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo. Funding is made possible for the Philadelphia Museum of Art through the Contemporary Art Revolving Fund). Photo by Nancy Green, on-site at Plimoth Plantation, Massachusetts, 2017.

Rose’s video is characterized as much by her intensive approach to post-production as by the attention she gives to the script and on-set staging. After filming the work in Plimoth, she added components such as a narrative sung by an ethereal voice in iambic pentameter. Orchestral and electronical scores serve to gather momentum and produce an emotional effect. Animals and people generate ghostly doubles, and a bright green moss seems to take over the barren landscape. In this work, Rose also continues her use of Medieval marginalia: drawn characters that populated Medieval manuscripts are here collaged to form words announcing certain protagonists and moments within the larger narrative. These elements coalesce with the depicted dramatic events to create a world in which the circumstance of history meets the coincidence and magic of fate.

Installed as a single-channel video and approximately ten minutes in length, Wil-o-Wisp will fill a large gallery that will include an eighteen-foot widescreen. It will be framed within an environment which is currently under development by the artist.

Erica Battle, The John Alchin and Hal Marryatt Associate Curator of Contemporary Art, said: “While Rachel Rose’s carefully woven narrative is set in the past, it speaks to larger themes and concerns that are relevant to our world today. Wil-o-Wisp reflects the inescapable feeling that history is cyclical.”

Rachel Rose (American, born 1986) creates video installations that combine video, sound, and architectural elements. She has had solo exhibitions at the Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria (2017), the Aspen Art Museum (2016), the Museu Serralves in Porto, Lisbon (2016), the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London (2015), and the Whitney Museum of American Art (2015). She was the recipient of the Frieze Artist Award (2015), and her work is collected by prominent institutions such as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; LUMA Foundation, Arles; Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris; Ishikawa Foundation; Tate, London; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others. Rose received a BA from Yale University, New Haven, as well as an MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and an MFA from Columbia University, New York. Continue reading

Art News: “Old Masters Now: Celebrating the Johnson Collection” at The Philadelphia Museum of Art

Art gives us real delight only when the eye derives pleasure from what is really worthy.

John G. Johnson, from his art and travel memoir, Sight-Seeing in Berlin and Holland among Pictures, 1892.

This fall, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will present Old Masters Now: Celebrating the Johnson Collection, November 3, 2017 – February 19, 2018, a major exhibition focusing on one of the finest collections of European art ever to have been formed in the United States by a private collector. The exhibition marks the centenary of the remarkable bequest of John Graver Johnson—a distinguished corporate lawyer of his day and one of its most adventurous art collectors—to the city of Philadelphia in 1917. It also coincides with the celebration of the centennial of

Portrait of John G. Johnson, 1917. Conrad F. Haeseler, American, 1875 1962

Portrait of John G. Johnson, 1917. Conrad F. Haeseler, American, 1875 1962. Oil on panel, 34 x 24 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Miss Julia W. Frick and Sidney W. Frick, 1971.

the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The exhibition will include masterpieces by key figures of the Renaissance such as Botticelli, Bosch, and Titian; important seventeenth-century Dutch paintings by Rembrandt, Jan Steen, and others; and works by American and French masters of Johnson’s own time, most notably Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, Édouard Manet and Claude Monet. Old Masters Now will also provide a behind-the-scenes look at the collaborative work of the Museum’s curators and conservators who have worked with the collection since it was entrusted to the Museum’s care in the early 1930s. The exhibition will explore a host of fascinating questions ranging from attribution to authenticity and illuminate the detective work and problem-solving skills that are brought to bear when specialists reevaluate the original meaning and intent of works created centuries ago.pma_title_horz

Born in the village of Chestnut Hill, now part of Philadelphia, and educated in the city’s public Central High School and then the University of Pennsylvania, John Graver Johnson (1841–1917) became recognized as the greatest lawyer in the English-speaking world. He represented influential clients such as J. P. Morgan, US Steel, the Sugar Trust, and Standard Oil. He was also known to accept cases that many would consider ordinary if the details piqued his intellectual interest. Johnson quietly acquired many important works of art, but also highly singular ones that have been the source of much scholarly discussion.

Railroad Bridge, Argenteuil, 1874. Claude Monet, French, 1840 1926.

Railroad Bridge, Argenteuil, 1874. Claude Monet, French, 1840 1926. Oil on canvas, 21 3/8 x 28 7/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

At the age of 34 he married Ida Alicia Powel Morrell (1840–1908), a widow with three children. He traveled to Europe often, visiting France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, and Belgium, and collected pictures as an amateur art historian relying on his own evaluation. In 1892, he published Sight-Seeing in Berlin and Holland among Pictures. Also that year, he published a catalog of his collection which at the time included 281 paintings.

Saint Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata, 1430 1432. Jan van Eyck, Netherlandish

Saint Francis of Assisi Receiving the Stigmata, 1430 1432. Jan van Eyck, Netherlandish (active Bruges), c. 1395 1441. Oil on vellum on panel, 5 x 5 3/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

In 1895, Johnson was appointed to Philadelphia’s Fairmount Art Commission where he oversaw the Wilstach Gallery, which housed a public collection of paintings. Under his leadership, the Commission purchased important works, among them James McNeill Whistler’s Arrangement in Black, and Henry Ossawa Tanner’s Annunciation, the first work by an African-American artist to enter a public collection in the United States. Johnson was also the attorney for Alexander Cassatt, brother of the artist Mary Stevenson Cassatt. One of his earliest purchases was Cassatt’s On the Balcony. When Johnson gave this work to the Wilstach Gallery in 1906, it was the first painting by the artist to enter an American public collection. During his 22-year stewardship of the Wilstach Gallery, he made 53 gifts from his personal collection, which are now on view at the Museum.

Marine, 1866. Gustave Courbet, French, 1819 1877. Oil on canvas on gypsum board. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

Marine, 1866. Gustave Courbet, French, 1819 1877. Oil on canvas on gypsum board. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

Musical Group, 1520s. Callisto Piazza (Calisto de la Piaza da Lodi),

Musical Group, 1520s. Callisto Piazza (Calisto de la Piaza da Lodi), Italian (active Lodi and Brescia), c. 1500 1561/62. Oil on panel, 35 5/8 x 35 3/4 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and CEO said, “Over time our appreciation of Johnson’s extraordinary gift continues to grow, and yet it remains a source of endless fascination with many discoveries still to be made. We are delighted to open a window onto our work, offering visitors a fresh look at the process of scholarship and conservation that we bring to the care of our collection and an insight into the questions, puzzles, and mysteries that continue to occupy our staff.”

Johnson’s collection was formed through his own study and, in later years, with the assistance of illustrious art historians including Roger Fry and Wilhelm Valentiner. Bernard Berenson advised his purchases of works by Antonello da Messina, Sandro Botticelli, and Pietro Lorenzetti, and others. To this day, the John G. Johnson Collection is distinguished by its quality, rarity, and diversity in European art.

Portrait of a Lady, c. 1577 1580. Attributed to El Greco

Portrait of a Lady, c. 1577 1580. Attributed to El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos), Spanish (born Crete, active Italy and Spain), 1541 1614. Oil on panel, 15 5/8 x 12 5/8 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

Portrait of a Young Gentleman, 1474. Antonello da Messina

Portrait of a Young Gentleman, 1474. Antonello da Messina (Antonello di Giovanni di Michele de Antonio), Italian (active Messina, Naples, and Venice) 1456 – 1479. Oil on panel, 12 5/8 x 10 11/16 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

Portrait of Archbishop Filippo Archinto, 1558. Titian

Portrait of Archbishop Filippo Archinto, 1558. Titian (Tiziano Vecellio), Italian (active Venice), first securely documented 1508, died 1576. Oil on canvas, 45 3/16 x 34 15/16 inches. Framed: 58 3/4 × 48 1/4 × 5 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

At the time of his death on April 14 in 1917, Johnson left his collection to the city of Philadelphia. In his will, he said: “I have lived my life in this City. I want the collection to have its home here.” The City of Philadelphia accepted the conditions of his will, which contained a codicil directing that his house be opened as a gallery for the public to enjoy. In 1933 the Johnson Collection was moved temporarily from Johnson’s house at 510 South Broad Street to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, due to a funding crisis caused by the Great Depression as well as a determination by a court-appointed master that the Johnson house was unsafe for the collection. In 1958 the Museum, the City, and the Johnson Trust entered a formal agreement concerning storage and display of the Johnson Collection at the Museum. Johnson’s art was exhibited as a separate collection within the Museum for more than 50 years. In the late 1980s, legal approval was granted for the Museum to integrate the works into its full collection. The collection numbers 1,279 paintings, 51 sculptures, and over 100 other objects.

Christ and the Virgin, c. 1430 1435. Robert Campin, also called the Master of Flémalle, Netherlandish

Christ and the Virgin, c. 1430 1435. Robert Campin, also called the Master of Flémalle, Netherlandish (active Tournai), first documented 1406, died 1444. Oil and gold on panel, 11 1/4 x 17 15/16 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

Head of Christ, c. 1648 1656. Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Dutch

Head of Christ, c. 1648 1656. Rembrandt Harmensz. van Rijn, Dutch (active Leiden and Amsterdam), 1606 1669. Oil on oak panel, laid into larger oak panel, 14 1/8 x 12 5/16 inches. Framed: 28 1/4 x 23 x 2 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

Interior of Saint Bavo, Haarlem, 1631. Pieter Jansz. Saenredam, Dutch

Interior of Saint Bavo, Haarlem, 1631. Pieter Jansz. Saenredam, Dutch (active Haarlem and Utrecht), 1597 1665. Oil on panel, 32 5/8 x 43 1/2 inches. Philadelphia Museum of Art, John G. Johnson Collection, 1917.

The exhibition will open with a gallery dedicated to Johnson himself, providing a picture of one of Philadelphia’s most prominent leaders during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. A timeline will trace key moments in his colorful legal career, highlighting important cases and invitations he was reported to have received from President Garfield and President Cleveland to be nominated for a seat on the United States Supreme Court, and another from President McKinley to serve as his United States Attorney General, all of which Johnson declined. It notes that in 1901, he represented his hometown baseball team, the Phillies (then known as the Philadelphia Ball Club), when players sought to break their contract to play for another team. This section will also explore his decades-long formation of an art collection, from his early acquisitions of contemporary art, such as Mary Cassatt’s On the Balcony, to paintings that he acquired the day before he died. Archival material, travel albums, and large-scale photographs of the interiors of Johnson’s houses at 426 and 506 South Broad Street will reveal the strikingly idiosyncratic way in which he displayed and lived with his collection. Continue reading

Philadelphia Museum of Art Receives Gift of Five Sculptures from Cy Twombly Foundation

The Philadelphia Museum of Art (2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130, 215-763-8100) announced the acquisition of five major sculptures by Cy Twombly, one of the foremost American artists of the 20th century. This generous gift of the Cy Twombly Foundation will make these works, which were initially selected for exhibition at the Museum in 2011 by the artist himself, a permanent part of the Museum’s collection.

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Rotalla, Zurich, 1990. , Cy Twombly, American, 1928 – 2011, Bronze, 27 15/16 x 26 3/4 x 19 11/16 inches, Base (pedestal): 41 × 34 × 27 inches. © Cy Twombly Foundation

The Philadelphia Museum of Art contains one of the country’s most important collections of Cy Twombly’s works. In 1989, the Philadelphia Museum of Art became the first public institution in the United States to devote a room to the permanent display of Twombly’s art with Fifty Days at Iliam. From April 2012 until March 2016, a selection of six sculptures, including the five works recently given to the Museum, was placed on view in the Atrium Gallery of Perelman Building.

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Anabasis (Bronze), 2011., Cy Twombly, American, 1928 ‑ 2011. Bronze, 46 1/16 x 19 1/8 x 19 5/16 inches, Base (pedestal): 39 × 26 1/4 × 26 inches. © Cy Twombly Foundation.

These bronzes including Untitled, Rome, 1980; Rotalla, Zurich, 1990; Untitled, Rome, 1997; Victory, conceived 1987, cast 2005; and Anabasis (Bronze), 2011, were chosen by Twombly because they complemented his masterful Fifty Days at Iliam, 1978, a suite of 10 monumental canvases that the Museum acquired in 1989. Varied in size and shape, with richly textured surfaces, these works, although fundamentally abstract, are informed by a classical sensibility and clearly reflect the artist’s sustained engagement with the art of the ancient world. On November 19, 2016, the sculptures will be placed on view in galleries 184 and 185, alongside related loans and works by Twombly from the collection.

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Untitled, Rome, 1997. Cy Twombly, American, 1928 ‑ 2011. Bronze, 32 1/2 x 29 1/8 x 13 3/8 inches, Base (pedestal): 38 × 36 × 20 1/2 inches. © Cy Twombly Foundation

Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and CEO, stated: “The Museum is deeply grateful to the Cy Twombly Foundation for this extraordinary gift. Like the artist’s Fifty Days at Iliam, this remarkable group of sculptures evokes the timeless themes sounded in Homer’s account of the Trojan War and offers a profound meditation on both classical history and the nature of modernity. They represent an enormously important addition to our holdings of work by this great artist, who is a key figure in the history of contemporary art. They will be united with a sixth sculpture by the artist, which is a promised gift of Keith L. and Katherine Sachs, and two important paintings from the bequest of Daniel Dietrich.”

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Untitled, Rome, 1980. Cy Twombly, American, 1928 ‑ 2011. Bronze, 15 3/16 x 16 9/16 x 7 5/16 inches, Base (pedestal): 42 × 34 × 27 inches, Base (small platform): 3 1/2 × 16 × 21 1/4 inches. © Cy Twombly Foundation

Carlos Basualdo, the Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Senior Curator of Contemporary Art, said: “For more than 25 years our Museum has dedicated a gallery to the display of Twombly’s work. The generous gift of this extraordinary group of sculptures deepens even further the strong connection between Philadelphia and the work of an artist whose influence and legacy are more than ever strong and alive.”

Cy Twombly (1928–2011) was born in Lexington, Virginia. He attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (1947-49), Art Students League, New York (1950-51), and Black Mountain College, North Carolina (1951-52). He lived much of his later life in Rome.

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Victory, Conceived 1987, cast 2005. Cy Twombly, American, 1928 ‑ 2011. Patinated bronze, 12 feet 1 inches × 35 inches × 13 1/2 inches, Base (platform): 4 1/2 × 60 × 37 inches. © Cy Twombly Foundation

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