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Wild: Michael Nichols
June 27, 2017 - September 17, 2017
Mrithi, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda, 1981
A sneak peek at works featured in the exhibition
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Wild: Michael Nichols
June 27, 2017 - September 17, 2017
“It’s all about respect for the natural world.”—Michael Nichols

Explore the work of legendary photographer Michael Nichols: artist, technical innovator, and ardent advocate for preserving natural habitats. Be transported through the split-second magic of images captured in some of the most remote areas of the world. Nichols’s stunning photographs offer intense confrontations with the power and fragility of the wild and a reflection of our own humanity.

For more than three decades, Nichols has ventured to the farthest reaches of the world to document nature’s wildest creatures and landscapes. As an award-winning photographer for National Geographic, he has recorded animals and habitats in locations as expansive as the Congo Basin, the Serengeti, and the American West with an unparalleled intensity.

This exhibition presents Nichols’s most important projects, highlighting his artistic accomplishments, technical innovations, and efforts to preserve wild spaces. His photographs will be shown with depictions of nature from the Museum’s collection, inviting visitors to consider humankind’s complex, and often brutal, relationship with the wild.

This summer Art Splash, the Museum’s popular family program presented by PNC Arts Alive, will explore themes from the exhibition via in-gallery explorations, hands-on workshops, guided tours, performances, and family festivals.

Exhibition Trailer

What is wild?

“What is wild? It is the essence of what I believe in. It means untamed. It means free. And it is the thing that most human beings have no concept of, because we think that we are in charge. The fundamental thing we have to do in this whole game is put that idea, that need to be in control, aside.”

—Michael Nichols

Encounters with Nature in the Collection

Reclining Nude

Nature has long been a source of inspiration for artists. Explore images of the wild in this selection of works from the Museum’s collection, including animal sculptures and paintings, landscapes, and works carved from ivory and bone.


Support for Wild: Michael Nichols is provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts with additional support from Leslie Miller and Richard Worley, National Geographic, Lyn M. Ross, Lynne and Harold Honickman, Donna D. and Marvin Schwartz, Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey Anderson, Barbara B. and Theodore R. Aronson, The Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund, Mrs. Susannah D. Rouse, Constance and Sankey Williams, an anonymous donor, and other generous donors.

Art Splash is presented by PNC Arts Alive, with additional support from The Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Mari and Peter Shaw.


Peter Barberie, The Brodsky Curator of Photographs, Alfred Stieglitz Center; and guest cocurator Melissa Harris


Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries and the Great Stair Hall, first floor

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