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Image of a person with dark skin, a white bathing suit, and a white cap laying on a cot against a blue background.

Kind of Blue by Claudette Johnson (2020) © Claudette Johnson. Courtesy of the artist and Hollybush Gardens, London. Photo: Andy Keate.


The Time is Always Now: Artists Reframe the Black Figure

November 9, 2024–February 9, 2025

This exhibition showcases the work of over 20 contemporary artists from the African diaspora working in the United States and United Kingdom—including Kerry James Marshall, Amy Sherald, Jordan Casteel, Claudette Johnson, and Michael Armitage—who reimagine figurative painting to capture the complexities of Black experience.

Conceived by Ghanian-born and U.K. based curator and writer Ekow Eshun and organized by the National Portrait Gallery in London, in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Time is Always Now will make its U.S. premiere at the PMA, where new artists from Philadelphia, London, and New York will be featured.

Main Building

Free with museum admission

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Pay What You Wish admission on the 1st Sunday of the month


This exhibition is organized by the National Portrait Gallery, London, in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


National Sponsor:

The Time is Always Now: Artists Reframe the Black Figure is made possible by the Robert Montgomery Scott Endowment for Exhibitions, Kathleen C. and John J. F. Sherrerd Fund for Exhibitions, Lois G. and Julian A. Brodsky Installation and Exhibition Fund, Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Fund for Exhibitions, Jaimie and David Field, Barbara A. Podell and Mark G. Singer, Vesna Todorović Sacks and Howard J. Sacks, Karen Goodman Tarte, and Arthur M. Kaplan and R. Duane Perry.

All exhibitions at the PMA are underwritten by the Annual Exhibition Fund. Annual support is provided by Andrea Baldeck, M.D., Julia and David Fleischner, and Robert Hayes.


The organizing curator is Ekow Eshun, guest curator for the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the supporting curator is Sarah Howgate, Senior Curator of Contemporary Collections at the National Portrait Gallery, London.

In Philadelphia, the exhibition is curated by Erica F. Battle, John Alchin and Hal Marryatt Curator of Contemporary Art, with Yocari De Los Santos, Constance E. Clayton Fellow.

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