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NEW AND UPCOMING EXHIBITIONS
Gifts from the Philadelphia Water Color Club
September 25 - December 2010
In honor of the Water Color Society’s anniversary, this exhibition presents a small group of watercolors by some of the most distinguished artist-members represented in a gift from the club to the Museum in 1941. Works by Thornton Oakley and Blanche Dillaye, early members of the Water Color Club, will be on view next to works by illustrators including Jessie Wilcox Smith and Elizabeth Shippen Green, who studied in Howard Pyle’s illustration classes at Philadelphia’s Drexel Institute and established the city’s distinguished tradition of book illustration. Other artists, like John Dull and Henry McCarter were pupils of Thomas Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts—an institution that for years collaborated with the Water Color Club in presenting its annual exhibitions. The majority of the artists in the Museum’s Water Color Club Collection are Philadelphians, but the collection also includes work by national and international artists, including a 1949 lithograph by the Spaniard Pablo Picasso that was added to the collection in 1950. While this display highlights drawings and watercolors, some of the best-known American artists in the Water Color Club Collection are printmakers, such as John Taylor Arms, George Bellows, Isabel Bishop, and Armin Landeck. Founded in 1900, the Philadelphia Water Color Club (now the Philadelphia Water Color Society) celebrates its 110th anniversary in 2010. Over the years, its collection has grown to include 170 works of art on paper. Curator: Innis Howe Shoemaker, The Audrey and William H. Helfand Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
Location: Prints, Drawings, and Photographs Study Gallery, first floor, Perelman Building In celebration of the 110th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Water Color Club.
To Love, Honor, and Obey? Stories of Italian Renaissance Marriage Chests
Ongoing from July 3, 2010
In Renaissance Italy, betrothal and marriage were celebrated with a variety of events as well as commemorative works of art. Often elaborate, these objects marked the joining of a couple while symbolizing wealth and demonstrating alliances between powerful families.
Particularly significant were cassoni, large storage chests produced in pairs and typically used to hold the bride’s dowry. In mid-15th-century Florence, these chests were sometimes paraded through the city in wedding processions, and were designed to complement other furnishings made for the new couple’s bedchamber This exhibition includes two complete chests and related painted panels in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, all produced in Tuscany in the mid-to late-15th century. To Love, Honor and Obey? considers the contexts for which marriage chests were made and used, techniques employed by craftsmen in producing them, and the sources and meanings of their decoration. Usually representing moral exemplars intended for the education of the married couple—particularly the wife—the tales and images that decorate cassoni help illuminate Italian Renaissance art, life and society.This exhibition is supported by Maude de Schauensee.
Curator: Jack Hinton, Assistant Curator of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture
This exhibition is supported by Maude de Schauensee.Location: Gallery 209
Threaded Adornment: Four Centuries of English Embroidery
July 10, 2010 through Spring 2011
This exhibition presents English embroideries from the Museum’s collection dating from the 16th to the 19th century. Embroidery has been used to embellish costumes and textiles for more than 3,000 years, with some of the finest embroideries produced in England from 900 to 1500. The nine objects on view depict a technique accomplished by stitching through an existing fabric foundation, which may be used to create a diversity of patterns and designs, surfaces and textures. Among the items on display are a woman’s coif and waistcoat, a casket, furnishing and ecclesiastical textiles, samplers, and other needlework items that illustrate England’s long history of creating superb embroideries. English embroideries reflect contemporary social and aesthetic developments, and function as subtle displays of wealth and status. The effects of 16th-century religious reformation, 18th-century exploration, and 19th-century industrialization are apparent in some of the embroidered designs.
Curator: Laura Camerlengo, Curatorial Fellow, Costume and TextilesPress Images
Location: Gallery 271
Hanging Around: Modern and Contemporary Lighting from the Permanent Collection
July 17 – October 10, 2010
Since the invention of the electric light in the early 20th century, designers have been experimenting with ways to dress up the light bulb. Lighting fixtures—particularly hanging lamps—received attention from designers such as American George Nelson, who in the decades after WWII, responded to a demand for fixtures that were both aesthetically functional and modern. This exhibition of some 20 hanging lamps drawn from the Museum’s collection of modern and contemporary design explores the variety of ways designers used materials and technology to find new ways of diffusing and reflecting light.
Artists such as Poul Henningsen, a Danish industrial designer and architect, experimented with unusual designs, creating objects such as PH Artichoke lamp (1958), composed of staggered and stacked reflectors in a configuration that resembles, as its name suggests, an artichoke. Others experimented with materials, some of them new, like plastic, and others merely low-tech materials adapted for a new purpose, like Italian artist Bruno Munari’s Falkland lamp (1964), an elegant undulating column of elasticized fabric. In recent years, designers have experimented with new technologies, producing imaginative creations such as German designer Ingo Maurer’s “Wo bist du, Edison?” (“Where Are you, Edison?”), made in 2003. One of Maurer’s most technically advanced works, “Wo bist du, Edison?” features a 360-degree holographic image of a light bulb hanging above the shade, hidden in a socket in the shape of Thomas Edison’s profile.
Curator: Donna Corbin, Associate Curator of European Decorative ArtsPress Images
Location: Collab Gallery, Perelman Building
An Eakins Masterpiece Restored: Seeing “The Gross Clinic" Anew
July 24, 2010 - January 9, 2011
Press preview: July 22, 2010, 10:00 a.m.-noon, Perelman Building
The Gross Clinic of 1875 is perhaps the most significant work created by the great Philadelphia artist Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) and a landmark in the history of 19th-century American art. A new exhibition—An Eakins Masterpiece Restored: Seeing “The Gross Clinic” Anew, to be presented in the Pennsylvania Gallery of the Perelman Building, will enable visitors to see and understand this painting—its creation, its critical reception, and the physical changes it has experienced over time—in new ways.
In late 2008, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, joint owners of The Gross Clinic, initiated a plan to evaluate the condition of the painting, to research its conservation history, and assess the potential benefits of an effort to clean and restore it. The resulting study of The Gross Clinic and numerous other Eakins paintings made clear the potential of a new conservation treatment that would address the problems caused by an aggressive cleaning of the painting’s surface in the 1920s.
On July 24, 2010, The Gross Clinic will be placed on view as the centerpiece of this exhibition, having been newly restored in the paintings conservation studio of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Based on emerging evidence that yielded a comprehensive understanding of the painting’s original appearance and the changes that had occurred to it, the sensitive treatment carried out by the conservation staff of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts will enable audiences to see this masterpiece as Eakins intended it to be seen.
The exhibition will explore the history and initial reaction to The Gross Clinic, using source materials from the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, including photographs and didactic panels, as well as the responses of contemporary viewers, which ranged from horror and revulsion to awe-struck praise. Three surviving preparatory studies for the painting and a new full-sized X-radiograph of The Gross Clinic will be presented to provide insight into Eakins’s painting process, supplemented by texts explaining the artist’s commitment to the academic ideal of correct pictorial tone and color. The exhibition will also include a documentary film produced by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, examining the artistic ideas that informed Eakins’s approach to painting, the way in which he used certain materials and techniques to achieve specific pictorial effects, and the reasons that many of his paintings—including The Gross Clinic—were altered by aggressive conservation treatments in the decades after his death in 1916.
This exhibition will include other important works such as The Agnew Clinic of 1889 (owned by the University of Pennsylvania) the artist’s second great clinic painting, as well as his Portrait of Dr. Benjamin H. Rand of 1874 (Crystal Bridges Museum), which was Eakins’s first full-length portrait of a doctor.
The Gross Clinic is owned jointly by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, thanks to the successful campaign launched by the two institutions in 2006 to keep the painting in Philadelphia when it was offered for sale by Thomas Jefferson University. The Gross Clinic will move to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for a period of three years following the close of this exhibition in January.
The exhibition is made possible by Joan and John Thalheimer, by the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation, by The Pew Charitable Trusts, and by Wachovia, a Wells Fargo Company. The conservation of Thomas Eakins’s The Gross Clinic, and the related documentary, were generously supported by The Richard C. von Hess Foundation.
Curators: Mark S. Tucker, Vice Chair of Conservation and The Aronson Senior Conservator of Paintings, and Kathleen A. Foster, The Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Senior Curator of American Art, and Director, Center for American Art; documentary film by Suzanne Penn, Conservator of Paintings, Philadelphia Museum of ArtPress Images
Location: Perelman Building, Pennsylvania Gallery
Porcelain for the Emperor: Chinese Ceramics of the Kangxi Reign (1662-1722)
Ongoing from August 7, 2010
Drawing from the Museum’s holdings of more than 400 Chinese porcelains, this exhibition of some 40 works showcases Qing-dynasty porcelains made during the 60-year reign of the Kangxi emperor (1662-1772).
The contemporary royals of Europe became avid collectors of these Chinese porcelains, most famously Augustus the Strong (1670 – 1733), elector of Saxony and king of Poland. Two pieces formerly in the collection of Augustus will be on view, including a covered jar that exemplifies the virtuoso technical and artistic abilities of the Chinese porters. On a pale green ground—which inspired the French name for the ware, famille verte—the artist created a series of three panels, each depicting an animal (a lion, an elephant, and a mythical qilin), in enamel colors. While the artist who decorated this piece remains anonymous, many court painters were employed by the imperial porcelain factory established by the Kangxi emperor, himself an avid collector of these polychrome wares.
Curator: Felice Fischer, The Luther W. Brady Curator of Japanese Art and Curator of East Asian ArtPress Images
Location: Gallery 226
Picturing the West: Yokohama Prints 1859-1870s
August 28 - November 14, 2010
Cut off from the outside world by a policy of isolation enforced by the ruling Tokugawa shogunate, Japanese citizens were naturally curious about the Westerners who arrived on their shores following Commodore Matthew Perry’s historic voyages to Japan in 1853–1854. This fascination led to the flourishing of hundreds of color woodcuts portraying the foreigners who came to the country after Japan opened its borders to trade with the United States, France, Britain, the Netherlands and Russia at the end of the 1850s.
The exhibition of approximately 90 woodcuts, selected from the Museum’s extensive collection of 19th-century Japanese prints, showcases the rising interest in the dress, habits, and technologies of the newly arrived Westerners. The prints on view depict the coal-powered steam vessels known as “Black Ships,” hoop-skirted women and men in top hats, as well as imaginary views of the foreigners’ home countries. The Westerners residing in the burgeoning Japanese city of Yokohama were especially popular subjects.
Once a small fishing village, Yokohama was completely transformed into a major international port for trade as foreigners set up their own districts and the city expanded with an unprecedented flow of travelers and goods. Print publishers sent artists to Yokohama to make sketches on site and supplemented eye-witness accounts with imagery borrowed from illustrations in Western journals and newspapers. The resulting prints are a curious blend of convention and novelty, where traditional color woodcut techniques and methods of production are combined with new subjects and sources of imagery.
Curator: Shelley R. Langdale, Associate Curator of Prints and DrawingsPress Images
Location: Berman and Stieglitz Galleries, ground floor
Eakins on Paper: Drawings and Watercolors from the Collection
September – December 2010
In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Philadelphia Sketch Club, a selection of 10 rarely-seen drawings and watercolors will survey the early work of Thomas Eakins (1844-1916), considered as one of the great draftsmen in American art. Life-class drawings in charcoal from his student days during the 1860s at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts illustrate the central focus on figure drawing that inspired the formation of the Sketch Club that same decade. After study in Paris from 1866 to 1870, Eakins returned to Philadelphia to share his expertise with the club’s members, offering critiques at their life-class sessions in the 1870s before he began to teach at the Academy. Other examples of Eakins’ figure subjects in pen and ink and watercolor on view will include a rare wash drawing of Dr. Samuel Gross from 1875, based on the image in The Gross Clinic, and unusual tracings from his own photographs in the early 1880s, documenting his scientific interest in human anatomy. These drawings will be displayed alongside figure subjects and portraits in oil, and in conjunction with the special exhibition on The Gross Clinic (on view in the Perelman Building), to demonstrate Eakins’s reputation as a master of realism.
Curator: Kathleen Foster, The Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Senior Curator of American ArtPress Images
Location: Provident National Bank Gallery 118
Desert Jewels: North African Jewelry and Photography from the Xavier Guerrand-Hermès Collection
September 4 – December 5, 2010
Three decades of objects collected by Xavier Guerrand-Hermès of the renowned Paris-based fashion empire illuminate the diversity and beauty of traditional North African jewelry design. Including some 80 pieces of jewelry and nearly 30 late-19th- and early-20th-century photographs by artists from Algeria, Libya, Morocco, Egypt, and Tunisia, Desert Jewels features ornate necklaces, bracelets, rings, and earrings, most of which have never been publicly displayed. Designers working with inventive combinations of silver, coral, amber, coins, and semi-precious stones highlight cultural threads shared by many North African societies, while exploring local variations in materials and motifs. North African jewelry came to the attention of Western collectors in the 19th century when archaeological monuments in the region were being explored, visited, and in some cases, pillaged. The jewelry was also captured in photographs by artists including the Scotsman George Washington Wilson, the Neurdine brothers from France, and the Turkish photographer Pascal Sabah, who visited the region and photographed landscapes, architecture, markets, and people adorned in their jewels. Some of these images were used for postcards, while other remained hidden in little-known collections. This exhibition is organized by the Museum for African Art in New York. Curator: Dilys Blum, The Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costume and Textiles
Location: Spain Gallery, Perelman Building Hyunsoo Woo, The Maxine and Howard
Desert Jewels: North African Jewelry and Photography from the Xavier Guerrand-Hermès Collection is organized by the Museum for African Art, New York, and supported, in part, by the Robert Lehman Foundation.Press Images
Mark Cohen: Strange Evidence
October 2010 – February 2011
Working primarily in small Pennsylvania rust-belt cities like Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, where he lives, Mark Cohen photographs people and places encountered at random. This exhibition of some 50 of Cohen's black-and-white and color photographs made during the past 40 years reveal elemental aspects of human behavior and urban life, charting transformations that have occurred in Pennsylvania cities and demonstrating that even the most subjective photographs can reveal historical truths. Part of a generation of street photographers that includes Robert Frank, William Klein, and Lee Friedlander, Cohen works in a close-up, graphically bold style, focusing on odd suburban enigmas often featuring children from around his home town. His images are often unsettling, showing us a world filled with anxieties, accidents, and desires. While they seem to reveal aspects of human behavior and urban life, they are far from objective documents, as he often employs an aggressive flash and radical cropping. The resulting images are clearly shaped as much by Cohen's encounters with his subjects as by the people and places themselves. Curator: Peter Barberie, The Brodsky Curator of Photographs
Location: Levy Gallery, Perelman Building
Michelangelo Pistoletto: From One to Many, 1956 – 1974
November 2, 2010 – January 17, 2011
Widely recognized as a key figure in the development of Italian art in the 1950s and 1960s and a founding member of the Arte Povera movement, Michelangelo Pistoletto (b. 1933) has also gained increasing recognition in this country as an important influence on a younger generation of artists involved with the participatory practices that have become increasingly prevalent in contemporary art during the past two decades. The first major survey of works by Pistoletto in the United States in more than 20 years, this exhibition will place his art in the context of the cultural transformation of Western Europe that occurred after World War II and relate his work to developments in Italian and American art since the 1960s, including Pop Art, Minimalism, Arte Povera and Conceptual Art. Drawn from public and private collections in Europe and the United States, it will include some 100 works, many of which have never been exhibited in this country.
Michelangelo Pistoletto: From One to Many, 1956-74 is organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in collaboration with the Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo (MAXXI), Rome. In addition, Michelangelo Pistoletto: Cittadellarte, an interactive installation that explores the work of Pistoletto’s interdisciplinary center for art and culture located in Biella, Italy, will be on view in the Museum’s Modern and Contemporary Art Galleries. As both an exhibition space and an educational platform, Cittadellarte will be animated by a stimulating program designed by the Museum’s Department of Education in close collaboration with the artist and the staff of Cittadellarte.
Taking Pistoletto’s first self-portraits as a point of departure, Michelangelo Pistoletto: From One to Many, 1956-74 will examine the artist’s revelatory journey from his rigorous examination of self-representation in the mid-1950s through his engagement with creative collaborative actions during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Pistoletto’s extraordinary self-portraits of the 1950s, painted in Turin where he worked at the beginning of his career, demonstrate an incisive exploration of the tension between the individual human figure and the anonymous spectator. In these works he began to use increasingly reflective surfaces, a direction that ultimately led to the production of the first of his Quadri specchianti (Mirror Paintings) in 1962. Pistoletto created his Quadri specchianti by attaching figures—which he had hand-painted on tissue paper—to the mirrored surfaces of polished stainless steel panels. By doing so, the artist incorporated the viewer’s reflected image, making this interactive and figurative relationship fundamental to the experience of his work. An extensive selection of Mirror Paintings dating from 1962 to 1974 will enable visitors to trace the evolution of the artist’s technique and to map the sociopolitical changes that occurred in Italy during that period, which are clearly identifiable in Pistoletto’s progressive choice of subject matter.
The exhibition will also include sections devoted to Pistoletto’s Plexiglas works from 1964 that clearly prefigure Conceptualism, his Stracci (Rags) sculptures of the late-1960s and early-1970s that demonstrate his seminal contribution to the development of Arte Povera, and interactive documentation of the performance work that he produced with his Lo Zoo group from 1968 to 1970. A centerpiece of the show will be Pistoletto’s extraordinary Oggetti in meno (Minus Objects), a group of disparate sculptural objects that he created between 1965 and 1966. With the Minus Objects, Pistoletto tests and questions Minimalism’s emphasis on seriality and non-compositionality by creating works characterized by diversity and by drawing inspiration from fields as varied as artisanship, architecture, design, and popular culture. As with the rest of Pistoletto’s work, the connecting factor in his Minus Objects is a precise use of contingency, the artist’s knowledge and love of materials, and a passionate emphasis on singularity and difference.
In conjunction with the exhibition, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will publish an illustrated catalogue edited by Carlos Basualdo, with contributions by art historians Jean-François Chevrier, Claire Gilman, Gabriele Guercio, and Angela Vettese, as well as the Museum’s Conservator of Paintings, Suzanne Penn. The catalogue will include plates for all works on view, pairing the Mirror Paintings with documentary photographs of the works. For the first time in a major catalogue, much of the source photography that Pistoletto commissioned, manipulated, and replicated for his Mirror Paintings will be published in an effort to shed light on the artist’s intricate creative process and relate it to his interest in stagecraft and the theater. The English-language catalogue, designed by Abbott Miller of Pentagram, is co-published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Yale University Press. It is available in the Museum Store ($65), or via the internet at www.philamuseum.org.
Michelangelo Pistoletto: Cittadellarte, a related presentation in the Gisela and Dennis Alter Gallery (176), will provide visitors with the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities connected to Pistoletto’s ongoing project titled Cittadellarte. Pistoletto founded Cittadellarte in Biella, Italy in 1998, and has developed the mission of this multifunctional foundation to place “art at the center of a responsible process of social transformation.” Cittadellarte—whose name implies both a fortified enclave and city of art—is organized around several offices dedicated to diverse fields of study, including Economics, Education, Politics, Ecology, and Communication. Working autonomously, each office advances programming related to Cittadellarte’s goals through thoughtful dialogue and societal engagement.
As is the case with From One to Many, this related project has been developed in close dialogue with the artist. Working together, Cittadellarte and the Museum’s Education Department have designed a stimulating schedule of events that will include lectures, workshops, classes, and family programs—several of which will take place in the Alter Gallery, bringing the innovative spirit of this artistic center to the Museum and the city of Philadelphia. The series of active and varied programming will focus on three central concerns of Cittadellarte: the Caribbean sea as a hotbed for diversity and cultural exchange; Love Difference, a program targeted to the development of a culture of tolerance and respect; and Sustainability, which Cittadellarte applies to areas of economics and development as much as to the environment.
A central element in the installation of Michelangelo Pistoletto: Cittadellarte at the Museum’s Alter Gallery will be two large tables that have been fabricated in the shapes of the Caribbean and Mediterranean Seas, acting as both a physical setting for conversation and a metaphor for exchanges across cultures. To Pistoletto, the etymology of Mediterranean—middle from “medi” and land from “terra”—articulates a concept of space that exists between lands, and therefore between people, defining in turn a locus for communication and exchange.
This presentation will be accompanied by a publication containing a master schedule for all the Cittadellarte-related events and activities throughout the run of the exhibition. This comprehensive brochure will also include texts describing the activities and goals of Cittadellarte, as well as a discussion of the origin of the foundation, which derived from the artist’s collaborative projects in the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s.
The exhibition is made possible by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, and by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and The Kathleen C. and John J. F. Sherrerd Fund for Exhibitions. Additional support is provided by Galleria Lia Rumma, Le Méridien Hotels, and GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin; by Christie’s, Luhring Augustine, Galleria Christian Stein, and Simon Lee Gallery; by Barbara B. and Theodore R. Aronson, Lynne and Harold Honickman, Jane and Leonard Korman, Harriet and Larry Weiss, and Sankey and Connie Williams; and by the Philip and Muriel Berman Foundation, Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz, and Jaimie and David Field.The exhibition was organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and MAXXI---Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome. The catalogue is made possible by illycaffè and The Andrew W. Mellon Fund for Scholarly Publications.
Curator: Carlos Basualdo, The Keith L. and Katherine Sachs Curator of Contemporary Art
Location: Dorrance Galleries for Special Exhibitions Press Images
Alessi: Ethical and Radical
November 21, 2010 to April 10, 2011
Alessi is widely regarded as the world’s most innovative and influential maker of metal kitchen utensils and other household objects. The family-owned and operated company was founded in 1921 by Giovanni Alessi in the region of Lake Orta in the Italian Alps, an area known for highly developed craft traditions in wood and metal. This exhibition presents the company’s history of collaborations with leading architects and designers including Achille Castiglioni, Michael Graves, Alessandro Mendini, Ettore Sottsass, and Philippe Starck. It is made possible by the generous support of Lisa S. Roberts and David W. Seltzer and of Collab - a volunteer committee of design enthusiasts that supports the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s modern and contemporary design collection and related programs. Alberto Alessi will receive Collab’s Design Excellence Award for 2010 on November 20th.
In the 1950s, under the leadership of Carlo Alessi, Giovanni’s son, the company began to commission products from outside designers. Alberto Alessi—Carlo’s eldest son—took over the management of Alessi in the 1970s. He brought the company to the forefront of international design through highly successful collaborations with international designers, offering them creative freedom and technical support in a series of well-known “research” projects. Alessi’s current catalog presents the result of the firm’s recent work with more than 200 designers, among them Ron Arad, David Chipperfield, Zaha Hadid, Jean Nouvel, and Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa of the architectural firm SANAA.
Alessi: Ethical and Radical, will present the company’s unique history as a research center and design collaborative, showcasing such projects as the Tea and Coffee Piazza of 1983, in which Alessi identified 11 designers and gave them a completely free hand to explore new forms and technologies. The now well-known results include Michael Graves’s teakettle with its bird-shaped whistle and Richard Sapper’s rocket-like espresso coffee maker evolved out of the Tea and Coffee Piazza project and featured a hinged mechanism for locking the base to the coffee chamber.
Twenty years later, Alessi repeated the experiment with 22 architects and designers for the Tea and Coffee Towers project of 2003, marking the exceptional changes that had occurred in style and technology during the two decades that separated these projects. The exhibition will include Greg Lynn’s tea and coffee set, composed of double-walled titanium containers with identical curved edges that can be combined in various flower-like radial arrangements. The surface of these thin titanium vessels retains the fine textural detail of the machine tool. With Alessi’s next research projects already under development, Alessi: Ethical and Radical will showcase prototypes that have never been seen outside the factory, demonstrating the immense possibilities of creativity in design when encouraged by a supportive patron.
The exhibition is sponsored by Collab, a collaboration of design professionals and enthusiasts who support the development of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s holdings of modern and contemporary design. A volunteer committee founded in 1970, Collab is dedicated to enriching the Museum’s collection with outstanding examples of mass-produced and unique designs and to making these collections accessible to the general public, students, and the design community through special exhibitions and programming. Now among the most important in the country, the Museum’s design collection houses more than 2,000 objects ranging from furniture and ceramics to glass, wallpaper, lighting, and functional objects.
Through its sponsorship of the Design Excellence Award, Collab has recognized the significant contributions to design history of individuals such as Ingo Mauer, Gaetano Pesce, Maya Lin, Frank Gehry, Marcel Wanders, Florence Knoll Bassett and Milton Glaser, to name just a few of the individuals so honored. The simultaneous Collab Student Competition highlights the design ingenuity of regional college students as inspired by the current year’s Design Excellence Award recipient. Alessi: Ethical and Radical is made possible through the generous support of Lisa S. Roberts and David W. Seltzer and of Collab – a volunteer committee of design enthusiasts that supports the Museum’s modern and contemporary design collection and programs, in collaboration with the Museo Alessi.
This exhibition is made possible by Lisa S. Roberts and David W. Seltzer, with additional support provided by Collab – a group that supports the Museum’s modern and contemporary design collection and programs, in collaboration with the Museo Alessi.
Curator: Kathryn Hiesinger, Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700Press Images
Location: Collab Gallery, Perelman Building
Virtues and Vices: Moralizing Prints in the Low Countries, 1550-1600
December 2010 – February 2011
It brings together a group of lively moralizing prints created between 1550 and 1600 in Antwerp and Haarlem, the two major print publishing centers in the Low Countries. Both sobering and satirical, prints of this type were popular best sellers, offering both moral instruction and visual delight to a newly expanded audience of educated Dutch and Flemish consumers. Familiar stories from the Bible, tales from Greek and Roman mythology, depictions of contemporary events, and scenes of everyday life all found favor with collectors. Ranging from the rowdy peasants and fantastic monsters of Pieter Bruegel the Elder (first documented 1550, died 1569) to the muscular heroes and sensuous nudes of Hendrick Goltzius (1558-1617), about 70 engravings selected from the permanent collection demonstrate the remarkable variety of moralizing prints created by leading artists of the Low Countries during a period of significant political and religious change. Location: Berman Gallery, ground floor
Curator: Charles Hausberg, Margaret R. Mainwaring Curatorial Fellow, with John Ittmann, The Kathy and Ted Fernberger Curator of Prints Press Images
The Peacock Male: Exuberance and Extremes in Masculine Dress
January 22 – June 2011
This exhibition contradicts the notion of men’s apparel as staid and restrained, especially when compared to feminine fashions. The Peacock Male, drawn from the Museum’s collection of Western fashion, examines 300 years of men’s sartorial display and includes examples of rich fabrics and ornamentation, as well as colorful accessories. Extravagant costumes such as those worn by the Mummers will be on view, as well as distinctive male garb displaying allegiance to a group: early 19th-century firemen wore decorative parade hats and Masons, emblematic aprons. Men could signal high status through specialized sports attire, elaborate formal military uniforms, or even the ornate clothing of subordinates, as seen in an early 19th-century livery coat for the servant of an Austrian prince.
The exhibition will also include more recent examples of men’s apparel, with 1960s-era garments such as a psychedelic “paper” shirt emblazoned with the names of the era’s sex symbols. Late 20th- and early 21st-century examples on view include Vivienne Westwood’s bright orange bondage suit and samples from designers like Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, who continue to redefine the definition of the masculine wardrobe.
Curator: Kristina Haugland, Associate Curator of Costume and Textiles and Supervising Curator for the Study Room and Academic RelationsPress Images
Location: Spain Gallery, Perelman Building
George Inness in Italy
February – May 2011
A canonical figure in American painting, George Inness (1825–1894) is widely admired as the pioneer of the evocative aesthetic known as Tonalism, which is distinguished by soft focus and diaphanous layers of paint. This is the first exhibition to examine the artist’s two Italian sojourns (1851–52 and 1870–74) and their formative impact on his work. Italy—its art and its landscape—offered Inness a font of inspiration as he developed his own unique artistic vision. This exhibition presents 10 oil paintings surveying Inness’s Italian subjects dating from 1850 to 1879. A highlight of the exhibition is Twilight on the Campagna (c. 1851), Inness’s first major work completed in Italy. Recently conserved, the painting has not been on view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art since 1952. Its re-emergence and restoration—precipitated by a comprehensive publication, or catalogue raisonné, of Inness’s entire body of work issued in 2007—constitutes a significant rediscovery. Inness enjoyed his most productive years during his second stay in Italy. His paintings sold well, both as mementos of Italy for affluent American travelers and as progressive stylistic experiments for leading collectors of American landscape painting. Although Inness returned to the United States in 1874, he continued to paint Italian compositions, honing the Tonalist aesthetic that began with his first trip to Italy in 1851. With Twilight on the Campagna as its anchor, George Inness in Italy charts this innovative artist’s development as he formed, interpreted, and later remembered his diverse and vivid impressions of Italy. This exhibition is organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and its Center for American Art. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue are made possible by grants from The Mr. & Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, the Henry Luce Foundation, and the Terra Foundation for American Art, and by a generous gift from Mr. and Mrs. Frank Martucci. Curator: Mark Mitchell, Assistant Curator and Manager, Center for American Art
Location: Gallery 119 Press Images
Paris through the Window: Marc Chagall and his Circle
March 1 - July 10, 2011
As a center of cosmopolitan culture and a symbol of modernity, Paris held a magnetic attraction for artists from Eastern Europe during the early decades of the 20th century. Most painters and sculptors settled around Montparnasse, which was sprinkled with cafes, and art galleries. It was here that Alexander Archipenko, Marc Chagall, Moïse Kisling, Jacques Lipchitz, Louis Marcoussis, Amedeo Modigliani, Chana Orloff, Jules Pascin, Margit Pogany, Chaim Soutine, and Ossip Zadkine established studios and discovered each other’s work. This exhibition will include around 40 paintings and sculptures by these émigrés, whose work was both imbued with the spirit of modernism and informed by their own cultural heritage. The exhibition will focus in particular on the paintings Chagall made between 1910 and 1920, including Half Past Three (The Poet), of 1911, one of the treasures of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Paris Through the Window: Marc Chagall and His Circle, which highlights an exceptional strength of the museum’s holdings of early modern art, is presented in conjunction with a new international arts festival in Philadelphia that is being organized by the city’s Kimmel Center and will run from April 7 to May 1, 2011. The exhibition will be largely drawn from the Museum’s outstanding collection of modern painting and sculpture, but this will be supplemented with a handful of key loans from museums and private collections in the United States and Europe. These include one of Chagall’s most famous works, the early masterpiece Paris Through the Window, of 1913, from the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, which presents a kaleidoscopic impression of the city of Paris as seen from Chagall’s studio window at La Ruche.
Curator: Michael Taylor, The Muriel and Philip Berman Curator of Modern Art
Location: Exhibition Gallery, Perelman Building
This exhibition is presented in conjunction with the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts.
About the Philadelphia International Festival of the ArtsPress Images
The Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), inspired by the Kimmel Center, will place Philadelphia’s cultural scene onto the world stage with a month-long festival offering performances, exhibits and events. Based on the philosophy of collaboration, innovation and creativity, PIFA’s programs represent every arts discipline and include more than 100 partners. Offerings include newly commissioned works, classical performances and exhibits, surprising partnerships featuring local and international artists and exciting explorations of traditional, non-traditional, new and emerging art forms. In homage to the artistic energy of Paris 1911-1920, PIFA celebrates works from that era and new creations inspired by the brashly innovative spirit of the period. The festival was made possible by an extraordinary grant from Philadelphia philanthropist Leonore Annenberg, whose vision for a city-wide celebration of the arts shaped its philosophy and programming. PIFA takes place April 7-May 1, 2011.
Roberto Capucci: Art into Fashion
March 16 – June 5, 2011
Known for his masterful use of color and innovative silhouettes, Roberto Capucci was one of the founders of modern Italian fashion in the early 1950s and he remains today, after six decades of remarkable creative achievement, one of Italy’s most influential and imaginative artist-couturiers. Capucci captured the attention of the international press at an early age, drawing praise from designers such as Christian Dior. His designs appealed to both Italian aristocrats and Hollywood actresses including Marilyn Monroe and Gloria Swanson. Today, Capucci continues to fascinate and inspire contemporary designers such as Ralph Rucci with his dedication to the purity of his art. Covering his entire career, from the 1950s to the present day, Roberto Capucci: Art into Fashion is the first major survey of his work in the United States. It is organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fondazione Roberto Capucci in Florence and will be seen only in Philadelphia.
Roberto Capucci was born in Rome in 1930 and studied at the Accademia delle Belle Arti. He briefly worked as an apprentice to the designer Emilio Schuberth and opened his first atelier in Via Sistina in Rome in 1950, moving in 1955 to Via Gregoriana where he remains today. He was introduced to Giovani Battista Giorgini, a buying agent for high end American department stores. Girogini organized the first Italian high fashion show in Florence in 1951 and continued to produce shows until 1965. Capucci presented his first collection in the second of Giorgini’s fashion shows in July 1951.
The exhibition will trace Capucci’s artistic career from his discovery in 1951 by Giorgini, to his most recent dress sculptures. It will present his iconic early designs such as Dieci Gonne (1956), inspired by the rings of water produced by tossing a stone, and the revolutionary box silhouette (1958). Also on view will be luminescent evening dresses presented in the dark in Paris in 1965, and the first of his sculpture dresses, a Doric column dress (1978). The exhibition will contain dramatic works from the 1980s and early 1990s that reveal his innovative use of pleating and unique explorations of color and form that have become his signature. Among the most recent works on view will be the series of eight dress sculptures, Return to Origins: Homage to Florence, from 2007. The accompanying exhibition catalogue will be edited by organizing curator Dilys Blum and consist of 220 pages with 150 color illustrations.
This exhibition is organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fondazione Roberto Capucci, and funded by The Women's Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Annenberg Foundation Fund for Exhibitions, the Robert Montgomery Scott Fund for Exhibitions, and The Kathleen C. and John J. F. Sherrerd Fund for Exhibitions.. Additional funding is provided by The Wyncote Foundation as recommended by Frederick R. Haas and Daniel K. Meyer, M.D., Barbara B. and Theodore R. Aronson, Mr. and Mrs. Jack M. Friedland, and Martha McGeary Snider, and by members of Le Capuccine, a group of generous supporters including Marla Green DiDio, Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Fox, and Mrs. and Mrs. Bernard Spain. Promotional support is provided by NBC 10 WCAU.
Curator: Dilys Blum, The Jack M. and Annette Y. Friedland Senior Curator of Costumes and TextilesPress Images
Location: Dorrance Galleries
Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus
August – October 2011
For Rembrandt van Rijn (1606–1669), the greatest painter, draftsman and printmaker of the Dutch Golden Age, the portrayal of biblical themes was a central preoccupation and one through which the artist introduced challenging innovations. The boldest of these came in mid-career, when Rembrandt introduced a radical shift in the traditional image of Jesus that was based on conventions that reached back to antiquity.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Musée du Louvre in Paris are organizing Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus, an exhibition that examines this remarkable change through some 23 paintings, 29 drawings, and nine prints assembled from public and private collections in Europe and the United States.
Among the works will be a series of panel paintings of a single model representing Jesus, three of which were mentioned in an inventory of Rembrandt’s home and studio conducted in July 1656. These included two paintings, each called Head of Christ by Rembrandt, and a third identified as a Head of Christ, from life, that was found in a bin in the studio awaiting use as a model for a New Testament composition. Seven of the original eight works created by Rembrandt and his pupils will be reunited for the first time (the eighth is now lost). This exhibition examines the significance of these bust-length portraits, which feature a presumably Jewish model, and how their subject figures in Rembrandt’s other works, while also exploring issues of attribution derived from the artist’s collaboration with students and apprentices in his workshop.
The exhibition will be organized into three sections: a prologue, the central section including the series of painted heads of Christ accompanied by related works, and an epilogue in which Rembrandt’s new image of Christ continues to find expression in his own works and that of his studio and his students. In addition to the panel paintings representing Jesus—one of which is in Philadelphia’s John G. Johnson Collection, and another in the collection of the Detroit Institute of Arts—highlights of the exhibition include such important works as Christ and the Woman taken in Adultery, 1644 (London, National Gallery), Supper at Emmaus, 1648 (Musée du Louvre), and Head of a Young Jewish Man, 1661 (Fort Worth, Kimball Art Museum).
The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue, Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus, published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art (a French-language edition will be published by the Musée du Louvre).
The exhibition is organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Musée du Louvre, and the Detroit Institute of Arts. It will be on view at the Musée du Louvre, from April to July 2011, the Philadelphia Museum of Art from August through October 2011, and at the Detroit Institute of Arts from November 2011 to February 2012.
Curator: Lloyd DeWitt, Associate Curator of European Painting Before 1900Press Images
Location: Dorrance Galleries
Van Gogh Up Close
January – May 2012
During his stay in Paris in 1886-87, Vincent van Gogh significantly revised his portrayal of nature as a result of his encounter with contemporary trends in painting and his investigation of Japanese art. The Impressionists and Neo-Impressionists were instrumental in Van Gogh’s efforts to lighten his palette and modernize his brushstroke. Like many artists, Van Gogh studied Japanese woodblock prints for their aesthetic qualities such as the flattening of a composition by introducing a high horizon line or a truncated object, the tilting of perspective, and the decorative use of color. He also embraced the ideas of Japanese artists who worked in close communion with nature, studying “the smallest blade of grass” in order to better comprehend nature as a whole. Such concepts and influences are reflected in landscape compositions by Van Gogh: he experimented with depth of field and focus, closing in on his subject or providing shifting perspectives on a field or the corner of a garden. This exhibition will present some 45 paintings, borrowed from collections around the world, that demonstrate Van Gogh’s new approach to landscape painting.
Organized by the National Gallery of Canada in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with contributions by leading scholars. The guest curator for the exhibition is Van Gogh expert Cornelia Homburg, working in collaboration with Anabelle Kienle at the National Gallery of Canada.
Curators: Joseph Rishel, The Gisela and Dennis Alter Senior Curator of European Painting before 1900, and Senior Curator of the John G. Johnson Collection and the Rodin Museum; and Jennifer Thompson, The Gloria and Jack Drosdick Associate Curator, European Painting Before 1900Press Images
Location: Dorrance Galleries
Interactions in Clay: Contemporary Explorations of the Collection
Through July 11, 2010
Chosen for their adventurous and experimental attitudes toward traditional ceramic practices, four artists interact with historical works or spaces to discover new meanings and formal strategies inspired by works of art in the Museum. The artists' interpretations will range in scope and location, from Walter McConnell's ongoing exploration of wet clay manifested within the Pillard Hall from a Temple in Gallery 224, to Paul Sacaridiz' interest in city forms displayed in relation to the Pennsylvania German furniture in the Joan and Victor Johnson Gallery 115 in the American Galleries. The Lansdowne Room (Gallery 297), a 1760s London drawing room, serves as inspiration for two artists. Betty Woodman's abstract vases and wall pieces celebrate the architectural and ceramic forms displayed in the Lansdowne room and will be shown in the adjacent Gallery 295. Ann Agee's wallpaper highlights the cultural contrast between the aristocratic Lansdowne Room and the utilitarian Millbach Kitchen (Gallery 285) where her work will be shown. The Clay Studio has developed this project in conjunction with Independence: The 44th Annual National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts Conference, to be held in Philadelphia March 31 – April 3, 2010. Guest curators for the project are Jody Clowes, Jo Lauria, John Perreault, and Judith Tannenbaum. Curator: Elisabeth Agro, The Nancy M. McNeil Associate Curator of American Modern and Contemporary Crafts and Decorative Arts
Location: Galleries 115, 224, 285, and 295 This exhibition was commissioned by The Clay Studio of Philadelphia, in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Support for the development and planning of the project is provided by the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative, a program of the Philadelphia Center for Arts and Heritage, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and administered by the University of the Arts. Additional support is provided by the William Penn Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. The exhibition was developed by guest curators Jody Clowes, Jo Lauria, John Perreault, and Judith Tannenbaum. Elisabeth Agro, The Nancy M. McNeil Associate Curator of American Modern and Contemporary Craft and Decorative Arts, is the organizing curator for the Museum's presentation. Press Images
Through July 18, 2010
This exhibition features images in which water is the principal theme, highlighted in a selection of modern and contemporary prints, drawings, and photographs from the permanent collection. Some 15 works will be on view, ranging from Ellsworth Kelly’s brush and ink drawing Reflections in the Seine (1950), to Untitled (after Tomb of the Diver, Paestum) (2002), a crayon and charcoal drawing on blue paper by Robert Moskowitz. Works by artists including Ed Ruscha, Roni Horn, Robert Moskowitz, Vija Celmins, and Georgia O’Keeffe will also be on view.
Curator: Innis H. Shoemaker, The Audrey and William H. Helfand Senior Curator of Prints, Drawings and PhotographsPress Images
Location: Stieglitz Gallery, ground floor
Visions of Venice: Eighteenth-Century Prints from the Collection
Through July 18, 2010
Venice in the 18th century was a leading cultural center, where painting and sculpture, printmaking and drawing flourished alongside music and theater, fashion and design, attracting travelers from around the world. Prompted by this thriving tourist trade, Venetian artists created lively prints of the city and its people for aristocratic visitors to take as souvenirs.
The exhibition features more than 70 works by artists such as Canaletto, Marco Ricci, Giovanni Battista, Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, and Pietro Longhi. The images celebrate the life and beauty of the city with the characteristic inventiveness of the Venetian Rococo style. Topographical or imaginary views of Venice (vedute) dominated the market, recording unique architecture as well as major ceremonies and festivals. Capricci, blending fantasy and reality in spirited scenes of classical ruins, were also popular, while genre prints or representations of everyday life among all social classes were sought after by tourists and Venetians alike. The exhibition is further enlivened by a small selection of drawings and paintings by notable Venetian masters.
Curators: Sarah Cantor, The Dorothy J. del Bueno Curatorial Fellow in the Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, and John Ittmann, Curator of PrintsPress Images
Location: Berman Gallery, ground floor
Live Cinema/Histories in Motion: Jennifer Levonian, Martha Colburn, Joshua Mosley
Through July 25, 2010
April 30 – May 31, 2010: Take Your Picture with a Puma (2010), by Jennifer Levonian. Stop-motion animation using watercolors and collage. 7:00 minutes.
June 1 – June 27, 2010: Join the Freedom Force (2009), by Martha Colburn. Mixed media animation. 3:56 minutes.
June 29 – July 25, 2010: International (2010), by Joshua Mosely. Mixed-media Animation, 5.5 minutes.
Contemporary artists increasingly employ animation to examine formal elements of studio-based practice in narrative contexts that address personal and communal experiences. Combining paper cut-outs, collages, drawings, watercolors, and sculptures with stop-action techniques and computer technology, Histories in Motion presents animated films by three young artists with Philadelphia ties, as well as a selection of the sculptures, collages and works on paper used to create them. Each artist’s animation and accompanying artworks will be on view for approximately one month.Martha Colburn’s Join the Freedom Force (2009), a fast-paced collage of images inspired by street protests around the world, utilizes the language and materials of filmmaking to comment on popular culture, consumerism, politics, and sexuality. Through a collage of live-action (paint-on-glass) animations, found footage and documentary filmmaking techniques, Colburn creates a mesmerizing portrait of contemporary issues expressed in the public realm. Samples of Colburn’s elaborately layered collages will accompany Join the Freedom Force (June 1 – June 27, 2010). Joshua Mosley’s International (2010) focuses on two historical figures, the American builder and philanthropist George Brown and Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek. Using stop-motion animation, the Philadelphia-based artist constructs an imaginary conversation that identifies Brown and Hayek’s perspectives on how a nation’s ideal economic and social order should evolve. International will be on view June 29 – July 25, 2010, together with a sculpture installation by Mosley.
Histories in Motion will be accompanied by a program of public events, including an opening musical and visual performance by Martha Colburn on April 30.
Live Cinema is a series of programs in the Video Gallery of the Museum that explores the vast production of single-channel video and filmwork by a diverse group of local, national, and international artists. In the last decade an ever-increasing number of contemporary artists have appropriated these mediums as an artistic outlet, in a dialogue with the early video and Super 8 practices of the 60s and the tradition of experimental filmmaking. Each program of the Live Cinema series focuses on a specific aspect of this work, in order to both map and analyze this important facet of contemporary art production. Live Cinema programs are accompanied by a brochure in which writers discuss the works exhibited, and also by public lectures program.This exhibition is made possible by The Women's Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Edna W. Andrade Fund of The Philadelphia Foundation, and the Mondriaan Foundation, Amsterdam.
Curator: Adelina Vlas, Assistant Curator, Modern and Contemporary ArtPress Images
Location: Galleries 178 and 179, 1st floor
Kantha: The Embroidered Quilts of Bengal from the Hill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection and the Stella Kramrisch Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Through July 25, 2010
Lovingly created from the remnants of worn garments and embroidered with motifs and tales drawn from the rich visual and narrative repertoire of Bengal, kanthas were traditionally stitched by women as gifts to be used in the celebration of weddings and other family occasions. This exhibition presents 44 examples of this vibrant domestic art, created by village and urban women in the Bengal region, now comprised of Bangladesh and the state of West Bengal, India between the mid-19th and the mid-20th century.
The first exhibition devoted solely to this form of art ever presented outside of South Asia, Kantha: The Embroidered Quilts of Bengal focuses on two premier collections. One was assembled and donated to the Museum by its former Curator of Indian Art, Dr. Stella Kramrisch (1896-1993). The other was assembled by Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz, leading proponents of American self-taught art, who have offered their kantha collection as a promised gift to the Museum on the occasion of this exhibition. The quilts on view were created by women who, whether rural or urban, Hindu or Muslim, shared a common Bengali culture from which they drew inspiration. Embroidered kanthas served a great variety of ritual and household needs. Elaborately ornamented or especially beloved pieces might be carefully preserved and passed down through generations, but most kanthas become ever more stained, faded, and fragile until finally being used as a diaper or dishcloth, making the well-preserved kanthas in these collections especially rare.
The exhibition and its accompanying catalogue were made possible by Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz, with additional generous support from The Coby Foundation, Ltd., and the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation.
Curator: Darielle Mason, The Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan ArtPress Release | Press Images
Location: Joan Spain Costume and Textile Gallery, Perelman Building
The Two Qalams: Islamic Arts of Pen and Brush
Through August 2010
This exhibition explores the relationship between calligraphers and artists through five works of calligraphy, drawing, and painting dating from the 17th through 19th century. A highlight from this group is a never-before-exhibited Mughal tinted drawing of around 1600, which, in its subject matter and emphasis upon bold and graceful linear effects, borrows from both European prints and Islamic calligraphies.
In Arabic, the word qalam originally meant the calligrapher’s reed pen. Calligraphers were and are esteemed in Islamic circles because their pens write the sacred words of the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam. The attitude toward painters, however, has not always been so positive since their brushes could depict—thus create—human and animal figures, thereby challenging the sole creative authority of God.
Persian poets of the 16th century countered this negative perception by describing the painter’s brush as a second qalam, equivalent to that of the calligrapher’s pen. The two qalams came together in the vibrant bookmaking workshops of the Islamic courts of Persia and India, where calligraphers and painters collaborated to produce a wealth of elaborate manuscripts and albums in which the art of pen and brush merged with exquisite results.
Curator: Yael Rice, Assistant Curator of Indian and Himalayan ArtPress Images
Location: Shah Abbas Cubiculum, Gallery 228
Arts of Bengal: Town, Temple, Mosque
Through August 2010
The great cities of Bengal (modern Bangladesh and parts of eastern India) have long been artistic hubs where professional painters, weavers, and sculptors catered to both local and European clientele. Under British colonial rule, artists in Calcutta (modern Kolkata), Dacca (Dhaka), Murshidabad, and Patna, produced silver vessels adorned with scenes of rural life, silk saris brocaded with images of urban pleasures, and paintings of colorful festivals. Temples and mosques, often decorated with intricately molded terracotta bricks, also fostered creativity. Some even provided venues for artists to sell paintings satirizing city life. Bengal’s rich urban fabric also offered inspiration to artist-intellectuals such as Jamini Roy, Mukul Dey, and Nandalal Bose as they sought to forge a modern aesthetic in the decades leading to and following independence. Through works drawn from the Museum’s collections, this exhibition explores the texture of life and art in Bengal’s cities from the 18th to the 20th century.
Curator: Yael Rice, Assistant Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art, and Darielle Mason, The Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan ArtPress Images
Location: The William P. Wood Gallery 227
Arts of Bengal: Wives, Mothers, Goddesses
Through August 2010
Bengal (modern Bangladesh and eastern India) is a lush region of lotus pools, fish-filled rivers, and tiger-haunted forests punctuated by rice and banana fields, rural villages, and teeming cities. The domestic arts made by and for Bengali women during the 19th and 20th centuries include intricate embroidered quilts called kanthas, vibrant ritual paintings, fish-shaped caskets and other implements created in resin-thread technique. Drawn from a common pool of motifs and ideas that reflect the unique environment of the region, these creations provide a rare view into women’s everyday lives and thoughts.
Other arts, such as elaborate painted narrative scrolls and souvenir paintings from Kalighat near Calcutta, illustrate women’s roles, both domestic and divine. Representations of the great goddess Durga as beloved daughter, devoted wife, adoring mother, fierce warrior, and heroic victor epitomize the complex nature of female divinity—and of women themselves—in the stories and culture of Bengal.
Created in conjunction with the exhibition Kantha: The Embroidered Quilts of Bengal from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection and the Stella Kramrisch Collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, on view in the Spain Gallery of the Museum’s Perelman Building (through July 25, 2010), Arts of Bengal: Wives, Mothers, Goddesses and the companion Arts of Bengal: Town, Temple, Mosque (Gallery 227, March 13 through summer 2010) showcase works from the Museum’s extensive holdings of Bengali vernacular arts.
Curator: Yael Rice, Assistant Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art, and Darielle Mason, The Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan ArtPress Images
Location: Himalayan Art Gallery 232, second floor
John G. Johnson and the Theatrum Pictorium of David Teniers II
Through Fall 2010
The John G. Johnson collection, assembled by the Philadelphia lawyer who bequeathed it to the city of Philadelphia in 1914, is considered one of the finest samples of paintings collected by an individual in the United States. In his collecting of Old Master works, Johnson was frequently unorthodox. While others sought after the peasant scenes and village fairs by renowned Flemish master David Teniers II, Johnson chose five of Teniers’ sketches for his 1660 Theatrum Pictorium, the world’s first fully illustrated and printed collection catalogue.
This grand quasi-scientific project was undertaken to publish the Italian paintings collection of his master and patron, Archduke Leopold Wilhelm. Teniers created small oil sketches of 243 of the paintings, noting the dimensions at the bottom. These sketches were then engraved by printmakers in Antwerp. The five sketches show Teniers translating Wilhelm Leopold’s Italian treasures into his own lighthearted, precise style, which became very influential in the following century. The sketches, completed catalogue and other related works will be on view to illustrate Teniers’ position at the nexus of art and science in 17th century Flanders culture.
Curator: Lloyd DeWitt, Associate Curator of European Painting Before 1900Press Images
Location: Johnson Study Gallery 273
Plain Beauty: Korean White Porcelain
Through September 26, 2010
Plain Beauty brings together exquisite porcelains made in Korea during the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910), ceramics by contemporary artists that are inspired by Joseon wares, and large-scale photographs by Bohnchang Koo (Korean, born 1953). Actively produced beginning in the 15th century, simple but elegant white porcelains reflected the neo-Confucianist ideology of the dynasty’s ruling elites, which promoted a frugal and restrained lifestyle. Production of these wares continued through the early 20th century, yielding vessels of diverse functions, sizes, and shapes.
Photographer Bohnchang Koo explored the classical beauty of Korean white porcelain in his Vessel series, produced between 2004 and 2008. Since the 1980s, Koo has examined the overarching themes of life and death through various subjects, including insects, animals, plants, and self-portraits. To create the Vessel series, Koo photographed plain white porcelains in the collections of museums in Korea and abroad. For him, these wares echo the essence of the Joseon aesthetic, and—because they are often stained, cracked, and worn by everyday use—they are an ideal subject through which to convey traces of human life.
Drawn from the Museum’s holdings and loans from other collections in the United States, the works on view create a visual dialogue that transcends both differences in medium and the time in which they were created.
Curator: Hyunsoo Woo, The Maxine and Howard Lewis Associate Curator of Korean Art
Location: Levy Gallery, Perelman Building
This exhibition is made possible by the Korea Foundation. Additional support is provided by The James and Agnes Kim Foundation Endowment for Korean Art and Frank S. Bayley.Press Images
Pleasures and Pastimes in Japanese Art
Through January 2011
From representations of classical Noh theater masks and costumes to depictions of poetry competitions and of the joys of fishing, Pleasures and Pastimes in Japanese Art examines the myriad ways in which leisure time was interpreted across all social classes in Japanese art. The 70 or so objects on view, spanning the period from the 16th to the 20th century, encompass activities ranging from libretti and musical instruments of the theater, attended by Japanese nobility, to scroll painting and ceramics depicting fishing trips. The importance of gourmet food and drink to Japanese culture is also reflected in ceramic vessels intended for sake and by food containers on view. Other pleasures and pastimes represented include intricately designed incense burners, painted versions of ikebana—or flower arrangements—and a set of playing cards, based on 100 classical poems, still used during New Year’s celebrations in Japan today.
Curator: Felice Fischer, The Luther W. Brady Curator of Japanese Art and Curator of East Asian ArtPress Images
Location: East Asian Art Galleries 241, 242, 243
Art in Revolutionary Philadelphia
Through Fall 2010
As the political climate in Philadelphia grew increasingly charged throughout the 1770s, art became currency. Some Philadelphians who supported the revolutionary cause gave art in payment of taxes to help fund the war. Loyalists to the British crown clung to their houses and art, including furnishings, until they were ultimately confiscated or, if portable, joined their owners in exile. After the war, art and furnishings were sold at public auctions.
In this exhibition of revolutionary-era objects from the Museum’s collection, the elegant Powel House Period Room (Gallery 287) will be re-imagined as part of British General William Howe’s encampment in Philadelphia from September 1777 to May 1778, when the British occupied the home of Elizabeth and Samuel Powel (The Powels were relegated to living in the servants’ quarters). Next door, some 20 objects from the Museum’s collection will be on view, including rare works from the Meschianza celebration of May 1778—the raucous final farewell party thrown by the British as they left Philadelphia—including a silver tankard from 1788 and a porcelain vessel showing the Penn family coat of arms. This exhibition of artworks and household items used during the 1770s features objects in the Museum’s collection that, while usually admired for their artistic virtues, depict the role art played in the lives of Philadelphians during the American Revolution.
Curator: Alexandra Kirtley, Associate Curator of American Art
Location: Galleries 286 and 287
This exhibition is made possible by the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.Press Images
Notations/Forms of Contingency: New York and Turin, 1960s – 1970s
Through September 26, 2010
In collaboration with the Sonnabend Collection, New York, the Philadelphia Museum of Art presents an installation charting the changing attitudes toward sculptural practice in a formative period that marked the shift from the bound forms of Mimimalism to the eccentric, elemental, energetic, and expressive forms of post-minimalism and Arte Povera. Forms of Contingency will include seminal works by artists engaged in the radical reinvention of art in the two cultural epicenters of New York and Turin, including Eva Hesse, Robert Morris, Mel Bochner, Alan Sonfist, Bruce Nauman, Mario Merz, Jannis Kounellis, Barry Le Va, Giovanni Anselmo, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Robert Smithson, and Lawrence Weiner.
About the “Notations” Series:
Forms of Contingency has been organized in collaboration with the Sonnabend Collection. The exhibition is part of an ongoing series of gallery installations titled “Notations,” named after the 1968 book by the American composer, writer, and visual artist John Cage, who was widely celebrated for his experimental approach to the arts. Cage’s Notations was an international and interdisciplinary anthology of scores by avant-garde musicians, with contributions from visual artists and writers. It was also an exhibition in book form, in which the scores doubled as drawings. The Notations series at the Museum serves as a flexible tool to explore contemporary art.
Curator: Erica Battle, Project Curatorial AssistantPress Images
Location: Alter Gallery 176, Modern and Contemporary Galleries
Inspiring Fashion: Gifts from Designers Honoring Tom Marotta
Through September 6, 2010
This exhibition presents a collection of runway styles donated by 17 celebrated designers in recognition of the creative legacy of the late fashion visionary and powerhouse Tom Marotta.
The gifts, obtained through the auspices of Saks Fifth Avenue, reflect a diverse spectrum of contemporary special occasion and evening wear, from classic designs to cutting-edge styles. The gifts will become part of the Museum’s permanent collection, and are donated by designers including Badgley Mischka, Bill Blass Ltd., Burberry Prorsum, Oscar de la Renta, Nancy Gonzalez, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Missoni, Zac Posen, Zandra Rhodes, Ralph Rucci, Peter Som, Valentino, and Diane von Furstenberg.
Marotta, born in South Philadelphia, spent over 40 years working in fashion, including many at Philadelphia’s highly regarded Nan Duskin boutique. As vice president of couture for Saks Fifth Avenue, his fashion sense was much admired by loyal customers as well as emerging and established fashion designers. He earned the affection and esteem of fashion titans and was an early champion of a new generation of designers.
This exhibition explores the creative influence behind each designer’s aesthetic, and will be accompanied by materials exploring the creative influences and inspiration behind the designers’ work.
Curator: Kristina Haugland, Associate Curator of Costume and Textiles and Supervising Curator for the Study Room and Academic RelationsPress Release | Press Images
Location: Costume and Textile Study Gallery, the Perelman Building
Flora and Fauna in Korean Art
Through Spring 2011
Artists of East Asia have been greatly inspired by depictions of flora and fauna based on Chinese works of art as well as those indigenous to various regions. The fine arts and crafts in this exhibition of 45 works from the 5th to early 20th century feature diverse representations of animals and plants that often served as living symbols of philosophical, historical, and metaphorical associations in Korea. These works, drawn from the collection, depict mythical animals like the dragon and phoenix, believed to protect against evil spirits, as well as plum trees, orchids, chrysanthemum, and bamboo, considered the “four symbols” of literati gentlemen. Often, the metaphor of animals and plants was based on word play, giving additional meaning to certain combinations of selected animals or plants. The Korean pronunciation of the characters for “reed” and “old man” are the same (no), as are the words for “geese” and “comfort” (an). Thus, traditional Korean paintings of reeds and geese represent a wish for a peaceful life in later years.
The highlight of the paintings, ceramics and lacquer objects on view is a pair of court paintings of phoenixes and peacocks with a paulownia and peach tree. These rare and exquisite paintings of the 19th-century Joseon dynasty have been newly conserved and remounted in Korea, and make their debut in this exhibition. They would have functioned both as wall decoration and as an emblem of good fortune in the setting of a Joseon palace. Owing to the fragility of works on paper and silk, the paintings will be rotated periodically.
Curator: Hyunsoo Woo, The Maxine and Howard Lewis Associate Curator of Korean ArtPress Images
Location: Gallery 237 and Baldeck Gallery 238
Informed by Fire: Highlights of American Ceramics
Through Spring 2011
Varied form, surface decoration and use of color combined with science and skill reveal vibrant, original and intelligent expressions in clay. This exhibition will present more than 40 examples of ceramics from the Museum’s collection that demonstrate the rich ceramic tradition of the United States, from Anthony W. Baecher’s Watch Holder (1850), to Jane Irish’s Poverty (2008). Firing, the final act in creation, is a celebratory moment fringed by anxiety and excitement. It is the kiln that gives these works of art their final form; they are “informed by fire.”
Informed by Fire is on view to honor Independence: The 44th Annual National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) Conference that will be held in Philadelphia in Spring 2010.
Curator: Elisabeth Agro, The Nancy M. NcNeil Associate Curator of American Modern and Contemporary Crafts and Decorative ArtsPress Images
Location: North Auditorium Gallery
A Glimpse of Paradise: Gold in Islamic Art
Through Spring 2011According to the Qur’an, the holy book of Islam, and Hadith, the collected sayings and deeds of the Prophet Muhammad and his companions, the inhabitants of paradise live in palaces built from gold and silver bricks and are adorned with beautiful gold bracelets and gilt-woven garments. While gold ornaments and implements are abundant in the afterlife, the wearing and hoarding of gold during one’s lifetime is generally discouraged because it may inspire an impious attachment to worldly extravagances. Royalty of the past nevertheless donned luxurious gold-woven textiles and gilded jewelry, perhaps to remind themselves of the rewards waiting in paradise. A Glimpse of Paradise explores the unique status of gold in Islam through a small group of objects drawn from the Museum’s collection. The diverse selection includes a 14th-century Qur’an folio with gold decoration and a unique Qajar-period eagle pendant decorated with semi-precious stones and enamel. As these works show, gold was put to multiple uses in the arts of Islam, serving both as a sign of the divine and as an ornament for earthly pleasure. Curator: Yael Rice, Assistant Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art
Location: Gallery 228 Press Images
Monumental “Miniatures”: Large-scale Paintings from India, 1400-1900
Through Spring 2011The so-called “miniature” paintings of India, like their Persian counterparts, were done in groups to illustrate stories. Typically they were made to be held in the hands of a single person, sometimes passed around a group, but always looked at from a close distance for intimate appreciation. In some cases, however, Indian “miniatures” were produced on a grand scale, making them especially well-suited for story-telling, certain devotional rituals, and other group activities. A painting’s monumental format could also serve to emphasize the grandeur of its subject, whether it was the much-loved cowherd god, Krishna, or an earthly king. Drawing from the Museum’s collection, Monumental “Miniatures” explores the breadth of subjects and great regional diversity of India’s large-scale painting tradition through 16 works, with highlights including an elaborate story-telling “scroll” from the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh and an exquisite oversized depiction of Krishna and his beloved, Radha, from Kishangarh in the north. Materials are also quite varied, as artists had to use cloth, wood, and even the surfaces of walls and ceilings to create the expansive fields they needed. Paper, which had been the preferred medium for illustrated manuscripts in India from at least the 13th century, posed a challenge because it was so difficult to produce in large sheets.
Curator: Yael Rice, Assistant Curator of Indian and Himalayan ArtPress Images
Location: William P. Wood Gallery 227
- Interactions in Clay: Contemporary Explorations of the Collection