12:39 PM

Exhibition Schedule Through 2023

Newly Opened and Upcoming  Exhibitions

House of Photographs: The Kasakoff-Adams Collection
Through July 10, 2023
Lynne and Harold Honickman Galleries (156–157)

This exhibition celebrates the gift of nearly 300 photographs donated to the museum in 2022 by Alice Kasakoff Adams. She and her late husband John W. Adams were anthropologists who taught at the University of South Carolina for more than thirty years. The couple began collecting art as graduate students in the late 1960s, and photography eventually became their major focus.

The Adamses’ collection reflects their unique interests and sensibilities, and includes photographs by both well and little known artists, in addition to intriguing vernacular examples. The works in the exhibition were produced over a span of more than 150 years by photographers from the United States, Europe, Australia, and Asia. The show includes images of families as well as other social units, photographs that center on place and geography, and a wide-ranging selection that foregrounds photographic experimentation and abstraction. Among the highlights are works by Diane Arbus (American, 1923–1971), Charles T. Scowen (British, 1852–1948), Imogen Cunningham (American, 1883–1976), and Nan Goldin (American, born 1953).

Scandal & Virtue: Staging Kabuki in Osaka Prints
Through July 24, 2023
Berton and Sallie Korman Galleries (221–223)

Prints of Kabuki actors produced during Japan’s Edo Period (1615–1868) reflect the impact and significance of Kabuki theater, bringing to light the nuanced and tightly interwoven relationships between actors, fans, and the ruling Tokugawa shogunate. This exhibition explores the ways in which artists’ portrayals of actors served as conduits both of fame and scandal. It looks at the role of actors as celebrities, their influence on the public they entertained in Osaka and Edo (modern-day Tokyo), as well as government efforts to reduce their influence.

Kabuki theater, known for its dynamism, including quick costume changes and dancing, was created in the early Edo period by Izumo no Okuni who established an all-female dance troupe that performed skits. Kabuki was first performed by women and later by young men; it was eventually banned over its association with prostitution with all-male performances taking its place instead. The exhibition is organized around the notions of fame, scandal, and morality, and focuses on the genre’s key actors, costumes, gestures, and expressions. Among the highlights are works by Okumura Masanobu (1685–1764), Shunkōsai Hokushū (active 1810–1832), Konishi Hirosada (active 1826–1863, died around 1865), and Shōkōsai Hanbei (1795–1809).

Ellsworth Kelly: Reflections on Water and Other Early Drawings
April 22– October 15, 2023
Gallery 272

This installation celebrates the 100th anniversary of Ellsworth Kelly’s birth by showcasing an extraordinary group of early drawings on loan from Jack Shear. The show includes works on paper from the radically innovative period when Kelly lived in Paris (1948–54) and several from later years including drawings for his steel sculpture Curve (1973), currently on display in the museum’s Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden. Reflections on Water and Other Early Drawings also richly illuminates the installation in adjacent gallery 275, Ellsworth Kelly: Paris/New York, 1949–1956, dedicated to the artist‘s early paintings. Together, the twin installations explore the foundations of Kelly’s evolving vision, one that would distinguish him as one of the most important artists of the postwar period.

Judith Joy Ross
April 24–August 6, 2023
Press Preview: Thursday, April 20, 2023
Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries

The largest retrospective exhibition to date of US photographer Judith Joy Ross (born 1946) will open in Philadelphia, its only North American venue, following its European tour in Madrid, Paris, and the Hague. Comprising approximately 200 photographs and a variety of documentary material, the exhibition charts her work through chronological sections that provide an overview of the artist’s main projects throughout her career. It also includes images that have never been seen before. All the works on view in the exhibition are generously on loan from the artist.

Judith Joy Ross is internationally acclaimed for her photographic portraits of people she encounters in public or within institutional frameworks. From these everyday contexts Ross crafts images of individual lives at chosen locations such as parks, public schools, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the offices of Congress, and political protests, among other venues. Together these bodies of work explore what it means to be a human being and a citizen, constituting a profound portrait of our age.

Judith Joy Ross was born in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. She graduated from the Moore College of Art in 1968 and earned a master’s degree in photography in 1970 from the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

A major illustrated catalogue, co-published in English by Fundación MAPFRE and Aperture, accompanies the exhibition. It will include essays by curator Joshua Chuang and art historian Svetlana Alpers, and an illustrated chronology by Adam Ryan. A personal reflection by Ross’s friend Addison Bross is included, which accompanies the artist’s portrait of Bross. The volume is available in the Museum Store or via the website at philamuseum.org ($65).

The exhibition is organized by Fundación MAPFRE in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Judith Joy Ross has been made possible through the museum’s endowment with the Robert Montgomery Scott Endowment for Exhibitions, Kathleen C. and John J. F. Sherrerd Fund for Exhibitions, and the Lois G. and Julian A. Brodsky Installation and Exhibition Fund, and by additional contributions from Andrea Baldeck, M.D., Lois G. and Julian A. Brodsky, Robert and Julie Jensen Bryan, Sarena Snider, Focus: Friends of Photography, and other generous donors.

See full press release

A Century of Kanthas: Women’s Quilts in Bengal, 1870s–1970s
May 19, 2023–January 1, 2024
Mitchell and Hilarie Morgan Galleries (150, 151)

This exhibition focuses on two textile types embroidered by women in the Bengal region (today Bangladesh and the state of West Bengal, India). The first is nakshi (ornamented) kanthas. Characterized by delicate stitches, faded tones, and intricate imagery, included quilts were made between about the 1870s and 1930s. The second is galicha (carpet) kanthas. Produced especially during the 1950s and 60s, they display bold colors and dizzyingly intersecting geometric forms. Both types often served as family heirlooms. Including more than thirty works, this is the first exhibition in a US museum to bring these two types of embroidery into conversation.

Nakshi kanthas, donated by Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz, are made by women using a base fabric created by stitching and layering together scraps of used clothing; this fabric is often covered with lines of parallel white running stitches to provide a distinctive ripple effect. The cloths, softened by years of wear and washing, express familial love and provide a sense of comfort and belonging, while the images stitched on them act as an outlet for the embroiderers to convey their lived experiences.

Galicha kanthas are heavy quilts made especially after 1947, the year of India’s Independence from Britain and the region’s Partition into India and Pakistan, in the more northerly parts of what is today Bangladesh. The effort needed by women to completely cover the surface of these thick, multi-layered cloths with embroidery makes them particularly remarkable. Seldom collected or displayed outside of Bangladesh, this group was given to the museum by Drs. David and Richard Nalin. The vibrant patterns of the galichas emerge entirely in cross-stitch, a European-derived technique first taught to Bengali schoolgirls during the colonial period which found its way into their domestic production.

The voices of Bengali womenwere not often heard during this period. These careful handmade cloths offer unique perspectives on a tumultuous century.

A Century of Kanthas: Women’s Quilts in Bengal, 1870s–1970s is made possible thanks to the support of Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz and their gift of a significant collection of kantha textiles.

Of God and Country: American Art from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection
May 19, 2023–January 1, 2024
Jane and Leonard Korman Galleries and Jaimie & David Field | Marie & Joseph Field Galleries (152–155)

This exhibition is devoted to works by artists who are typically labeled as “outsider artists,” often marginalized or excluded from traditional narratives of art history. Exploring their work within wider themes of religion and what it means to be American, the exhibition looks at the nation’s landscape, beliefs, and fraught history with race and racism. At times critiquing and celebrating aspects of American life, the works reflect a deep engagement but profound ambivalence toward the present, as well as faith and optimism for the future, in this life or the next.

Featured are works by James Castle (1899–1977), Josephus Farmer (1894–1989), Rev. Howard Finster (1916–2001), William L. Hawkins (1895–1990), S.L. Jones (1901–1997), Elijah Pierce (1882–1984), Purvis Young (1943–2010), Sister Gertrude Morgan (1900–1980), and others, reflecting a broad range of media, size, and style. One section devoted to American landscape encompasses landscapes, scenes of rural life, and domestic animals, while another section, dealing with US history, examines the legacy of slavery and the civil rights movement. Two additional sections, devoted to spirituality and mortality, include works evoking religion, death, and the afterlife, and suggest open-ended interpretations and conclusions.

The works are drawn from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection, including gifts and loans to the museum.

This exhibition is made possible by Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz.

The Artist’s Mother: Whistler and Philadelphia
June 10–October 29, 2023
Colket Gallery (251)

When James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s portrait of his mother, Anna Matilda McNeill Whistler, was exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in 1881, few could have predicted that it would one day be an iconic American painting. Philadelphia newspapers initially paid little attention to the painting, the second work by the Lowell, Massachusetts-born artist (1834–1903) to be shown in the United States. Its title, Arrangement in Grey and Black: The Mother puzzled viewers, as did its somber palette and sparse details. The painting, however, exerted a powerful force on local artists, and Whistler was surprised by the degree to which the public engaged with the subject. Years later, he wrote: “to me it is interesting as a picture of my mother, but what can or ought the public to care about the identity of the portrait?” It turned out that the public cared greatly about the connection between painter and sitter, and the painting, known today as Whistler’s Mother, is among the most recognizable in the world.

To celebrate this exceptional loan to the Philadelphia Museum of Art—the first time in 142 years that it will be seen in this city—the exhibition will explore the circumstances surrounding the portrait’s creation and its legacy in Philadelphia. Just as Whistler was inspired by Rembrandt’s etchings of his own mother, so too were local artists spurred by Whistler and their own ambitions to make depictions of their mothers. Some would respond directly to Whistler’s Mother while others took an entirely different approach. The installation will bring Whistler’s iconic portrait into dialogue with paintings, drawings, and etchings by artists associated with Philadelphia—Cecilia Beaux (1855–1942), Henry Ossawa Tanner (1859–1937), Dox Thrash (1893–1965), Alice Neel (1900–1984), and others—and invite consideration of the individual women represented and the relationship between artist and sitter, child and parent.

The Artist’s Mother: Whistler and Philadelphia is generously supported by the Laura and William C. Buck Endowment for Exhibitions and other generous donors.

El Origen de la Noche (The Origin of Night)
September 2023 – February 2024
Gisela and Dennis Alter Gallery (276) and video gallery (279)

This immersive sounds installation, comprised of eight sequential chapters, including narration, chants, and prayers, deals with the myth of the origin of the night as told by the Indigenous communities in Colombia’s Northwest Amazon. Produced by 4Direcciones (Diana Rico and Richard Decaillet) working in collaboration with a group of traditional authorities from Indigenous communities as well as anthropologists, musicians and linguists, the sound installation occupies a space structured like a maloka, or communal hut.

Originally commissioned by María Belén Sáez de Ibarra, director of cultural heritage at National University in Colombia, the work gathers archival as well as recent recordings from several Indigenous nations in Colombia.

This exhibition is made possible by the Daniel W. Dietrich II Endowment for Excellence in Contemporary Art.

The Shape of Time: Korean Art After 1989 
October 21, 2023–February 11, 2024
Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, Williams Forum, East Terrace

The year 1989, the moment when South Korea entered an accelerated period of globalization following its transition from totalitarianism to democracy, also marked a turning point for Korean artists as they began to connect in earnest to the global art scene. This exhibition includes works created since 2000 by approximately thirty artists born between 1960 and 1986 and will encompass painting, ceramics, photography, fiber, installation, embroidery, video, lacquer, performance, and metalwork. The show explores the complexities of rapid urbanization and industrialization that shaped the landscape of South Korea; the persistent political tension with North Korea and its continuing impacts on daily life; the pressure to conform to societal norms around gender and sexuality; and artistic resistance. The exhibition is organized around the themes of transition, tension, displacement, conformity, and feminist resurgence. Highlights among the works are embroideries by Kyungah Ham (born 1966), an architectonic sculpture by Do Ho Suh (born 1962), and intricate sculptures by Yeesookyung (born 1963). The exhibition also includes two commissioned works by sculptors Meekyoung Shin (born 1967) and Juree Kim (born 1980).

A fully illustrated catalogue, co-published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Yale University Press, will accompany the exhibition.

Major support for The Shape of Time: Korean Art after 1989 has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, The Korea Foundation, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Jung and Nelson Chai, Sueyun and Gene Locks, Maxine de S. Lewis, Andrea Baldeck, M.D., Lois G. and Julian A. Brodsky, Cynthia L. Johnson, The Jane and Leonard Korman Family Foundation, Constance and Sankey Williams, and other generous individuals.



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On View

Celebrating the Brandywine Workshop
Through May 15, 2023
Keyes Family Gallery 256

This installation celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Brandywine Workshop and Archives, a vital center for printmaking in Philadelphia. Established in 1972 by Allan Edmunds, Brandywine has from the start been committed to promoting printmaking as an important contemporary art form and to supporting experimentation between visual artists and skilled professional printers. In addition to providing opportunities for local artists and community members, Brandywine has sponsored hundreds of residencies for artists from around the country and the world. The exhibition features a selection of prints by these varied artists, in recognition of the international impact of the workshop and of their gift of one-hundred prints to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2009. The significant gift continues to serve as a valuable resource for the museum, which endeavors to advance the exhibition, study, and accessibility of these works. 

Isaac Julien: Lina Bo Bardi—A Marvellous Entanglement
Through May 29, 2023
Williams Forum

Across nine screens, Isaac Julien’s Lina Bo Bardi—A Marvellous Entanglement (2019) explores the life, work, and legacy of the Italian-Brazilian modernist architect Lina Bo Bardi (1914–1992). Born in Rome, Italy, and relocating to São Paulo, Brazil, in the 1940s, Bo Bardi was a multifaceted artist and thinker who developed an architectural practice rooted in the social potential of space and the fusion of Italian and Brazilian culture and aesthetics. Emphasizing improvisation, recycling existing spaces, and utilizing novel building materials, Bo Bardi designed some of Brazil’s most iconic art and cultural institutions, including the São Paulo Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art of Bahia, SESC Pompéia, and the Teatro Oficina.

In a new arrangement imagined by Julien specifically for this presentation, A Marvellous Entanglement establishes a vital architectural dialogue between Bo Bardi’s visionary buildings and the Williams Forum, the central space of Frank Gehry’s expansion project. Through a carefully constructed choreography of sound and moving images, Julien combines six years of archival research, on-location footage shot across multiple Bo Bardi–designed buildings, voice and dance performances, and recitations of Bo Bardi’s writings by two actresses. Quoting Bo Bardi in his title, Julien invokes her spirit and points to the liberatory possibilities of non-linear histories within global circulations of art and culture.

This exhibition is organized in conjunction with multiple cultural partners across Philadelphia including the Barnes Foundation; BlackStar Projects; Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania; and The Fabric Workshop and Museum, on the occasion of the Barnes Foundation’s centennial and newly commissioned film installation, Once Again…(Statues Never Die) on view June 19–September 4, 2022.

Isaac Julien: Lina Bo Bardi—A Marvellous Entanglement is generously supported by the Daniel W. Dietrich II Fund for Excellence in Contemporary Art, the William Penn Foundation Matching Gifts Program, John Alchin and Hal Marryatt, The Leslie Miller and Richard Worley Foundation, and other generous donors. 

Ink and Brush: The Beauty and Spirit of Japanese Calligraphy
Through July 3, 2023
Galleries 341–343

This installation features several styles of Japanese calligraphy from the 17th to the 20th century drawn from the museum’s collection. At the center of the installation is Five Poems by well-known priest Ryōkan (1758-1831), a large ink on paper six-fold screen from the late Edo period (1800s), which is also a new acquisition in honor of Dr. Felice Fischer, Curator Emerita of Japanese and East Asian Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. In addition to calligraphy, stationaries such as an inkstone and a water dropper are shown as well as prints, furniture, and posters related to calligraphic scripts.

Martine Syms: Neural Swamp / The Future Fields Commission
Through July 9, 2023
Gisela and Dennis Alter Gallery (276)

This exhibition is the first in the United States to feature the artist’s newly commissioned work, Neural Swamp, which has recently been acquired by the museum. For this presentation, Syms creates an immersive video installation that will build upon the artist’s interest in the proliferation, circulation, and consumption of images, as well as her continued research into machine systems and technologies that deprive, and at times erase, Black bodies, voices, and narratives. Neural Swamp premiered at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo in Turin in November 2021, after which it traveled to the Philadelphia Museum of Art in spring of 2022.

Martine Syms (American, born 1988) is a Los Angeles–based artist who has developed an interdisciplinary approach that bridges the mediums of film, performance, installation, and publishing. Investigative in practice, her works employ multiple technologies to explore and reveal the ways in which identity, history, and power are constructed, performed, packaged, and consumed. This new commission has provided support during a pivotal moment in Syms’s career, allowing her to extend her multifaceted approach towards new and increasingly experimental techniques while deepening her investigations into the representations of Blackness across generations, geographies, mediums, and traditions.

Martine Syms is the second recipient of the Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media, which supports the production and acquisition of a new video, film, sound, or performance work every two years. It is a joint initiative between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy.

See full press release.

A publication co-published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, and Yale University Press accompanies the exhibition. Featuring texts by curators Irene Calderoni and Amanda Sroka, as well as a commissioned essay by Christina Sharpe, this publication documents Syms’s new work, while also offering in-depth critical analysis and a visual essay that reflects the specific approach to images that characterizes the artist’s practice. 50 pages. ISBN: 9780876332979 ($25).

The Future Fields Commission in Time-Based Media is a joint initiative between the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy, that supports the creation and acquisition of groundbreaking new work in film, digital media, performance, and sound by leading artists of our time.

The exhibition has been made possible by the Daniel W. Dietrich II Fund for Excellence in Contemporary Art and the Robert Montgomery Scott Endowment for Exhibitions.

The accompanying publication has been generously supported by Sadie Coles HQ.

Rhythms of Nature: The Art and Design of DRIFT
Through September 10, 2023
Collab Gallery (219)

Co-founded by Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta, DRIFT is an Amsterdam-based multidisciplinary studio that bridges the categories of art, design, and technology. Growing since its 2007 formation into a team of more than sixty members, DRIFT collectively produces objects, environments, and performances that offer striking commentaries and speculative imaginings about humanity’s entanglements with nature and technology. The centerpiece of the exhibition is a site-specific iteration of the sculptural lighting installation Fragile Future, one of the studio’s most recognizable and influential works. LEDs covered in dandelion seeds—painstakingly hand-glued to mimic the natural shape of the flowerheads—are caught within a web of delicate bronze circuitry. The modular circuits allude to this technology-driven moment, but the organic presence of the dandelions and the skilled handwork the work’s fabrication suggest the hope of reconciliation between the natural and human-made worlds. The exhibition also focuses on DRIFT’s intensive, hands-on process of designing and fabricating their immersive and interactive artworks.

Through drawings, models, prototypes, and other documents of the studio’s collaborative experiments, visitors can glimpse the careful research and engineering that lie behind the apparent effortlessness of DRIFT’s experiential output. The exhibition offers a set of timely—and beautiful—reflections on the many ways we police the boundary between natural and artificial.

Rhythms of Nature: The Art and Design of DRIFT, the 2022 Collab Design Excellence Award exhibition, is made possible by The Lisa S. Roberts and David W. Seltzer Endowment Fund in Support of the Collab Design Excellence Award Exhibition. Additional support provided by Collab.

Medieval Treasures from the Glencairn Museum
Through October 2023
Gallery 307

This special installation brings the museum’s important collection of medieval art and architectural spaces into dialogue with works of art on loan from the Glencairn Museum. The Glencairn Museum, located in the eponymous 1930s home built by Raymond Pitcairn (1885–1966) in the town of Bryn Athyn, just north of Philadelphia, has a long history of generous loans to the museum’s medieval galleries, and during a renovation will lend a group of exquisite medieval treasures from their holdings.

Among the loans are a celebrated stained-glass panel from the Abbey Church of St. Denis, showing the Flight into Egypt, one of the most important and best-preserved pieces of early gothic glass in America; a Head of a King attributed to Gislebertus, sculptor of the 12th century portal of the Cathedral of Saint Lazare at Autun, France; and exceptional architectural sculpture, such as a capital from St. Guilhem le Désert in southern France. Other treasures from the Glencairn Museum will include Spanish ivories from the migration and Romanesque periods, and significant figurative stained-glass panels from the 13th century.

The unique display will create rich juxtapositions with works on view in neighboring galleries as well as add depth to discussions of the functions of medieval art, artistic processes and the links between artists working in different media (for example manuscripts to sculpture in stone, ivory or metal) and exploration of narrative decoration in stained glass and on architectural sculpture, a particular strength of the Glencairn collection.

Medieval Treasures from the Glencairn Museum is generously supported by Mark and Robin Rubenstein and an anonymous donor.

See full press release.

Oneness: Nature and Connectivity in Chinese Art
Through October 29, 2023
Galleries 321, 326, 334

Probing the boundaries between the natural and human world, this exhibition features the work of four contemporary artists whose practices address aspects of nature from a philosophical, spiritual, and material perspective. It asks the question ‘what is nature?,’ explores the relationship between humans and nature, asks us to consider how we are all connected to each other and to the world.

Each artist’s work continues an artistic tradition, an atmospheric ink rendering of the cosmos or universe (by Tai Xiangzhou, born 1968), a flowering utopia here on earth (Wang Mansheng, born 1962), large-scale mixed media creations of nature’s gifts (Ming Fay, born 1943), or an immersive installation of large ink wash landscape hanging scrolls to inspire a spiritual connection (Bingyi, born 1975). These works are juxtaposed with historic works from the collection, showing a continuity of ideas and themes through time drawn from the natural world.

Works by Ming Fay, Tai Xiangzhou, and Wang Mansheng are on view in gallery 321, with a series of interventions in gallery 334 that explore themes such as immortality and nature as a metaphor for human virtues. The fourth artist, Bingyi, is featured in the museum’s 17th century Chinese Reception Hall (gallery 326), where visitors can experience nature in a spiritual sense by wandering through a temple within a temple.

Oneness: Nature and Connectivity in Chinese Art and the accompanying programs and videos presented in conjunction with the exhibition are made possible by The Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation Global.


Expanded Painting from the 1960s and 70s
Through June 30, 2024
Edna and Stanley Tuttleman Gallery (274)

From Sam Gilliam’s suspended, draped canvas, to Lynda Benglis’s torqued and glittered form, these works speak to an upending of barriers—be they artistic, ideological, racial, or rooted in gender stereotypes. By rethinking and systematically probing conventions associated with the painted canvas, these works speak to the desire for a deeper, more fundamental connection to nature, the body, movement, and light.

This installation has been made possible with support from the museum's endowment, through the Daniel W. Dietrich II Fund for Excellence in Contemporary Art.

Rodin’s Hands
Through January 6, 2025
Rodin Museum

“Rodin is the sculptor of hands—furious, clenched, rearing, damned hands,” wrote the French critic and poet Gustave Kahn, describing Auguste Rodin’s talent for concentrating emotion and storytelling into this body part.

Rodin obsessively explored the expressive power of hands, using them to convey an infinite variety of emotions and experiences. This installation brings together fifteen bronzes and plasters, including works that are rare or unique to the museum’s collection, some of which are recognizable as studies for hands that animate his large and renowned public monuments.

Installation highlights include The Cathedral, a sculpture modelled in 1908 that depicts two over-life-size right hands whose fingertips are about to touch. A piece unique to the Rodin Museum is the bronze sculpture of clasping hands titled Two Lovers. The plaster model for it at the Musée Rodin in Paris is inscribed: “Hands of Rodin and Rose Beuret,” suggesting that the hands are those of the sculptor and his mistress and partner.

In Rodin’s vision of creation, The Hand of God emerges not from heaven but from earth and cradles a rock from which male and female figures emerge. The divine hand with its open, curving palm and outstretched index finger is identical to a right hand that appears twice in The Burghers of Calais: once on the figure of Pierre de Wissant, who raises it to his face in a gesture of acceptance and offering, and again for his brother Jacques de Wissant, from whom the hand hangs in a gesture indicative of hesitation and doubt.

The Rodin Museum provides a unique context for this focused installation. In the surrounding galleries, visitors can also discover or rediscover some of Rodin’s most popular works, including Eternal Springtime (modeled in clay 1884; cast in plaster 1885), The Crouching Woman (modeled in clay 1881–82, enlarged 1906–8; cast in bronze 1925), and works portraying such literary luminaries as Honoré de Balzac and Victor Hugo. Outdoors, as they approach the museum, they will encounter many other familiar works, including The Thinker (1880–1) which overlooks the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, The Three Shades (modeled in clay 1881–86, enlarged in 1901–4, cast in bronze 1983), and the monumental Gates of Hell (modeled in clay 1880–1917, cast in bronze 1926–28) on the portico by the entrances to the building.

See full press release.


Zoe Leonard: Strange Fruit
Gallery 271

This dedicated artist room celebrates a singular work by New York–based artist Zoe Leonard (born 1961) featuring a hallmark installation from the museum’s permanent collection, Strange Fruit (1992–97). Intended to decay while on public view, Strange Fruit is made up of hundreds of empty fruit skins that have been sutured together and sprawled across the gallery floor by the artist.

The work was created in New York in the 1990s during the ongoing global AIDS crisis and before any life-saving treatments were available. This was an era marked by tragic loss and increasing stigmatization of queer and Haitian communities along with sex workers and drug users. In response to friends who were dying, Leonard turned to sewing fruit peels as an embodied act of mourning and repair. The work’s title also makes reference to the anti-lynching song of the same name written by Abel Meeropol in 1937 and famously recorded by Billie Holiday in 1939 with with lyrics like, “Southern trees bear a strange fruit / Blood on the leaves and blood at the root / Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze / Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.”

Recalling the European tradition of memento mori still-life paintings, which incorporate imagery of fruit and flowers to symbolize life’s fragility, in this work, the process of decomposition unfolds before our eyes. Both effigy of, and elegy to, the lives of loved ones, Strange Fruit offers a haunting reflection on histories of violent persecution and a poignant meditation on mortality and transformation.

New Galleries of Early American Art
The Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Galleries (100–108)

A major re-installation devoted to the presentation of the museum’s extensive holdings of American Art spanning 1650 through 1850 inaugurates the museum’s new 10,000 square foot suite of galleries for American Art—a distinctive feature of Frank Gehry’s Core Project of the Facilities Master Plan—which also includes new galleries for Contemporary Art, together adding more than 20,000 square feet of gallery space within the museum’s footprint. The opening of these galleries represents the first major expansion and reinterpretation of the museum’s renowned collection of American Art in over forty years. Arranged chronologically and thematically, this new installation showcases the rich diversity of cultures and creative traditions that contributed to the formation of early American artworks. New interpretations of this collection explore the artistic ties linking the Americas to Asia; the role of enslavement in the production and financing of art throughout the period; Philadelphia's role as an influential cultural capital; and the stories and works of Black, women, and Indigenous artists, promoting the museum’s vision to bring the collection to life and advancing scholarship in the field.

See full press release.

The installation of the new Early American Art galleries has been made possible with lead support from the Henry Luce Foundation, and by The Mr. and Mrs. Raymond J. Horowitz Foundation for the Arts, The Richard C. von Hess Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy Demands Wisdom, an anonymous donor, The Davenport Family Foundation, Edward and Gwen Asplundh, Dr. and Mrs. Robert E. Booth, Jr., Mr. and Mrs. James L. Alexandre, The Americana Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. S. Matthews V. Hamilton, Jr., The McLean Contributionship, Lyn M. and George M. Ross, Dr. Salvatore M. Valenti, the Wunsch Family, Donald and Gay Kimelman, Boo and Morris Stroud, Mr. and Mrs. Ronald C. Anderson, Matz Family Charitable Fund, Marsha and Richard Rothman, and other generous donors.
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Additional support for the museum’s building project, including the construction of the new Early American Art galleries, was provided by Robert L. McNeil, Jr., Leslie Miller and Richard Worley, Laura and William C. Buck, Kathy and Ted Fernberger, Joan and Victor Johnson, John and Christel Nyheim, Lyn M. and George M. Ross, National Endowment for the Humanities, Marsha and Richard Rothman, and other generous donors.

Ongoing support for American Art initiatives and programs is provided by the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, established by Robert L. McNeil, Jr.

Art in Public Spaces

In the new and newly renovated spaces created by the Core Project—Lenfest Hall, the North Entrance, the North and South Vaulted Walkways, the South Hall, North Lobby, and the Williams Forum—the museum is exhibiting contemporary works of art that highlight a diversity of artists within the collection.

Martin Puryear’s wall sculpture titled Generation, 1988, is prominently displayed on the wall that separates Lenfest Hall from the Forum. A large-scale work made of stainless steel that takes the form of a human head titled Nuria (2017) by Spanish artist and sculptor Jaume Plensa greets visitors in the South Hall, and nearby are Sol LeWitt’s colorful and irregular forms entitled Splotch (2003). In the South Vaulted Walkway, the bronze Tête, or Head, 1974, by Joan Miró, is on view, while in the North Vaulted Walkway is a stainless-steel work, Two Box Structure, by David Smith. A contemporary sculpture made of light bulbs, porcelain, and an extension cord by Cuban-born American visual artist, Felix González Torres, Untitled (Petit Palais) (1992), is on view in the North Lobby.

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