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Upcoming Schedule of Exhibitions through Spring 2020

Fault Lines: Contemporary Abstraction by Artists from South Asia
March 7–October 5, 2020​
Alter Gallery,  second floor

Spanning six decades – from the 1960s to the present – the installation will include recent acquisitions and select loans to feature the work of artists born in South Asia, among them Tanya Goel (b. 1985, active in New Delhi) and Zarina Hashmi (b. 1937, active in New York), known professionally as simply Zarina, whose works offer an expanded notion of abstraction through an emphasis on the politics and poetics of the abstract line.

This presentation will be organized collaboratively between the Museum’s Contemporary and South Asian Art Departments.


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

Sean Scully: The Shape of Ideas
May 19–August 9, 2020

Press Preview: May 14, 2020
Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, second floor

This major retrospective will feature Sean Scully’s most significant works from the 1970s to the present. It will closely examine his contribution to the history of abstract art and his mastery of technique by focusing on the various mediums, motifs and scales that have defined the artist’s practice over time. The exhibition will center on paintings, drawings, prints, and pastels, demonstrating the integral relationships between works in various media, which are rarely exhibited together.

A new publication will accompany the exhibition, co-authored by exhibition curators Timothy Rub, the George D. Widener Director and CEO, and Amanda Sroka, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art. It will be the first to examine thoroughly the breadth of Sean Scully’s work within a biographical context, exploring his life and art. Co-published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Yale University Press, the catalogue will present an in-depth account of Scully’s work, informed by extensive recent interviews with the artist and comprehensive art historical research.

Scully (American, born Ireland) is a painter, printmaker, sculptor and poet. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Peter Stuyvesant Foundation Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Harkness Fellowship, as well as a two-time Turner Prize nominee. Scully’s works are in numerous private and public collections, including the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. In 2015, Scully participated in the Venice Biennale with his solo exhibition Land Sea at the Palazzo Falier. The upcoming retrospective will be the artist’s first of this scale in the United States since Sean Scully: Twenty Year, 1976-1995, which was presented in 1995 at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. The artist divides his time between New York, England, and Germany.

Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer

Amanda Sroka, Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art

The exhibition will travel to the Modern Art Museum of Forth Worth from September 13, 2020, to January 3, 2021.

This exhibition is generously supported by the Annenberg Foundation Fund for Major Exhibitions, the Robert Montgomery Scott Endowment for Exhibitions, the Kathleen C. and John J.F. Sherrerd Fund for Exhibitions, the Gloria and Jack Drosdick Fund for Special Exhibitions and the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund. Credits as of July 8, 2019

Ongoing Exhibitions

Designs for Different Futures
Through March 8, 2020
Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, second floor

This October, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will premiere a major collaborative exhibition that focuses on the role of designers in shaping the world of our future. Tasked with problem-solving across multiple disciplines, designers address the values, behavior, needs, and wants of society, not only with physical products, but by creating services, organizational systems, human interactions, speculative propositions, and even virtual experiences. Designs for Different Futures includes imaginative design ideas and products that respond to human civilization’s future needs, desires, and fears, exploring such issues as human/digital interaction, climate change, political and social inequality, resource scarcity, transportation, and infrastructure. About 80 future-focused projects are orgazined loosely into subthemes – ideas such as Bodies, Foods, Generations, Data, Jobs, Materials, Power – constellations that reflect differently designed and multiple-answer futures.

Among the highlights is an inflatable pod, fifteen feet in diameter, that is part of the work Another Generosity first created in 2018 by Finnish architect Eero Lundén and designed in this incarnation in collaboration with Ron Aasholm and Carmen Lee; an affordable and accessible gene-editing kit, the CRISPR Kit; an audio-visual installation focusing on the gay dating app called Intimate Strangers by Andres Jacque’s; and Cricket Shelter, by Terreform ONE, a farm for edible crickets that anticipates an impending food crisis. Applied to a variety of social, cultural, ethical, political, and economic problems, designs chosen for the exhibition demonstrate that humanity has no single future, only multiple, heterogeneous, and sometimes contradictory trajectories.

The exhibition will also include a Futures Therapy Lab which will be a space for community meetups, public programs, school visits, and self-directed activities. Organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Art Institute of Chicago, Designs for Different Futures will travel to the Walker Art Center (September 12, 2020–January 3, 2021)

and the Art Institute of Chicago (February 6 –May 16, 2021.)

Philadelphia Museum of Art: October 22, 2019–March 8, 2020
Walker Art Center: September 12, 2020–January 3, 2021
Art Institute of Chicago: February 6–May 16, 2021

A publication accompanies the exhibition, and is centered on the innovative contemporary design objects, projects, and speculations of the exhibition’s checklist. It proposes design as a means through which to understand, question, and negotiate individual and collective futures, giving provocative voice to the most urgent issues of today and prompts readers to contemplate the design context within broader historical, social, political, and aesthetic spectrums. The primary authors are Kathryn B. Hiesinger, Michelle Millar Fisher, Emmet Byrne, Maite Borjabad López-Pastor, and Zoë Ryan, with Andrew Blauvelt, Colin Fanning, Orkan Telhan, Juliana Rowen Barton, and Maude de Schauensee. Additional essays are by V. Michael Bove Jr. and Nora Jackson, Christina Cogdell, Marina Gorbis, Srećko Horvat, Bruno Latour, Marisol LeBrón, Ezio Manzini, Chris Rapley, Danielle Wood, LinYee Yuan, and Emma Yann Zhang; and interviews with Gabriella Coleman, Formafantasma (Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin), Aimi Hamraie and Jillian Mercado, Francis Kéré, David Kirby, Helen Kirkum, Alexandra Midal, Neri Oxman, and Eyal Weizman.

The publication Designs for Different Futures will be distributed by Yale University Press. The book was overseen by Philadelphia Museum of Art publishing director Katie Reilly and editors Katie Brennan and Kathleen Krattenmaker, and designed by Ryan Gerald Nelson at the Walker Art Center.

Curatorial Team
The curatorial team crosses disciplines and cultures, and is formed of, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Kathryn B. Hiesinger, The J. Mahlon Buck, Jr. Family Senior Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700, and Michelle Millar Fisher, formerly The Louis C. Madeira IV Assistant Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700; at the Walker Art Center, Emmet Byrne, Design Studio Director and Associate Curator of Design; and at the Art Institute of Chicago, Maite Borjabad López-Pastor, Neville Bryan Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design, and Zoë Ryan, the John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design. Consulting curators are Andrew Blauvelt, Director, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and Curator-at-Large, Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Colin Fanning, Independent Scholar, Bard Graduate Center, New York; and Orkan Telhan, Associate Professor of Fine Arts (Emerging Design Practices), University of Pennsylvania School of Design, Philadelphia.

Designs for Different Futures is organized by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

In Philadelphia, this exhibition is generously supported by the Annenberg Foundation Fund for Major Exhibitions, the Robert Montgomery Scott Endowment for Exhibitions, the Kathleen C. and John J.F. Sherrerd Fund for Exhibitions, Lisa Roberts and David Seltzer in Honor of Collab's 50th Anniversary, the Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Laura and William C. Buck Endowment for Exhibitions, the Harriet and Ronald Lassin Fund for Special Exhibitions, the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund, and an anonymous donor.

Credits as of August 29, 2019


Now, She: Two Sculptures by Ursula von Rydingsvard
Through April 2020

Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden

Two monumental sculptures by Ursula von Rydingsvard, Bronze Bowl with Lace, and Elegantka II, are on view in the Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden. These works are representative of the artist’s signature forms, scale, materials, and techniques, and convey a sense of deep emotion.

Bronze Bowl with Lace (2013-2014, cast 2017-2018) was cast from a full-scale cedar model. The top of the bronze is perforated and delicately lit from within with a soft amber light that lights with the evening sky. Elegantka II (2013-2014, cast 2016) is an exact urethane resin cast of another full-scale cedar model. The natural spiral form undulates and shifts from its narrow base through a knotty midsection and into its voluminous crown. It is situated on a mound near the entrance to the Sculpture Garden.

Ursula von Rydingsvard was born in Deensen, Germany and has lived and worked in New York since the 1970s. Her work has been exhibited internationally and is represented in the collections of major museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Modern Art; the National Gallery of Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. In 2015, Princeton University permanently installed her first monumental work in hand-pounded copper. She has been honored by the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture, and has received three awards from the American section of the International Association of Art Critics, and the International Sculpture Center Lifetime Achievement Award. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Alice Beamesderfer, the Pappas-Sarbanes Deputy Director for Collections and Programs

Off the Wall: American Art to Wear
Through May 17, 2020

Press Preview: November 8, 2019
Perelman Building

With roots and connections in fine arts, fiber art, craft, performance and fashion, Art to Wear has been defined as many different things over the years. This major exhibition celebrates the art form as a uniquely distinctive American movement that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s and reached maturity in the 1980s and 1990s. It traces the influence of the first generation of pioneering artists who came of age during the turbulent ‘60s and early ‘70s, framing their work in the context of the cultural, historical, and social concerns of their times. Focusing on the most iconic examples of Art to Wear from the period of 1967 through 1997, the exhibition features over 130 one-of-a-kind works by more than 60 artists. Anchored by selections from the promised gift of gallery owner and collector Julie Schafler Dale, the exhibition is supplemented with works from the museum’s collection and loans to celebrate the creativity and ingenuity of the many artists that participated in the movement.

The pioneering artists of Art to Wear used nontraditional materials and techniques to create unique works of art for which the body served as an armature. The exhibition features a wide range of techniques including free form crochet, hand knitting, machine knitting, macramé, leather work, beadwork, embroidery, applique, hand painting, and resist dye, among others. On view will be works by Claire Zeisler, Janet Lipkin, Anna VA Polesny, Nicki Hitz Edson, Jean Cacicedo, Susanna Lewis, Linda Mendelson, Dina Knapp, Marika Contompasis, and Tim Harding, to name a few.

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

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

This exhibition has been made possible by Julie Schafler Dale, PNC, The Coby Foundation, the Arlin and Neysa Adams Endowment Fund, Catherine and Laurence Altman, the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and other generous donors. Credits as of July 15, 2019

Marisa Merz
Gallery 271
Through Summer 2020

This installation celebrates the life and legacy of pioneering Italian artist Marisa Merz (1926–2019). Occupying a unique and pivotal position in postwar European art, Merz’s work combines a keen attention to materials with a deeply personal symbolism.

Coming of age in Italy in the turbulence of the 1960s, she is the sole female artist affiliated with Arte Povera—a term coined in 1967 to describe a group of artists whose work emphasized process and the use of unconventional materials in an attempt to connect art and life.

Imbuing the ordinary with redemptive and revelatory qualities, Merz’s sculptures, paintings, and drawings employ malleable materials like copper wire, wax, and unfired clay. As these elements are knotted, woven, and recombined—techniques often linked to craft and female labor—she insistently subverts antiquated stereotypes of the feminine and the maternal through the incorporation of heavy metals and industrial paints.

For many years Merz refrained from both dating her artwork and presenting it in traditional exhibition settings. This selective participation in the larger art system stemmed from her conception of art as inseparable from and entwined with daily life. Equally inspired by Byzantine religious icons, Renaissance painting, and domestic interactions with her husband, Mario Merz, and daughter, Beatrice, her work reflects an ongoing exploration of the tensions between the private and the public, the spiritual and the profane.

This gallery features a number of the artist’s recurring visual motifs, such as the female head, the flowing fountain, and musical instruments whose sounds are heard only in the viewer’s mind. With their delicate and textured surfaces, Merz’s works beckon us into a cosmos all her own.

In Memoriam

Marisa Merz was organized in collaboration with the Fondazione Merz, Turin. It has been madepossible with support from the museum’s endowment, through the Daniel W. Dietrich II Fundfor Excellence in Contemporary Art.

Rethinking the Modern Monument
Through December 2021

Rodin Museum, 2151 Benjamin Franklin Parkway

The exhibition explores Auguste Rodin’s legacy in public monuments. It focuses on major Rodin works throughout the museum and grounds, as well as modern sculpture from the collection to trace Rodin’s impact on monument design and modern sculpture. Revealing the controversial histories of Rodin’s commissions for public monuments across France in the early years of the French Third Republic (1870 -1940), the exhibition probes questions that remain vital today: what is the proper function of the public monument, what should it look like, and who decides? Exploring Rodin’s history and models for monuments, Rethinking the Modern Monument sparks connections to the ongoing conversation about new approaches to American monuments today.

Key works include Rodin’s Balzac (modeled in clay 1897; cast in bronze 1925) and Burghers of Calais (modeled 1884-1895; cast 1919-1921), Emmanuel Frémiet’s Joan of Arc (c.1874), and Pablo Picasso’s Man with a Lamb, 1943 (cast between 1948 and 1950). Plaster casts of Rodin’s sculptures are included in the display, such as Study for a Monument (modeled mid 1890s; cast c. 1926) and Project for the Monument Eugéne Carriére (modeled 1912; cast 1926). Modern works drawn from the collection include figurative bronze sculptures by Barbara Hepworth, Jacques Lipchitz, Henri Matisse, Marino Marini, Chana Orloff, and Alberto Giacometti, among many others.

Alexander Kauffman, The Andrew W. Mellon - Anne d’Harnoncourt Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow

New Galleries of Chinese Art
Main Building, Second Floor

The museum has recently unveiled its newly renovated and reimagined galleries dedicated to Chinese art. The presentation showcases art in all media, including paintings, sculpture, porcelains, ceramics, carvings, metalwork, costume and textiles, furniture, and contemporary works.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art houses one of the country’s earliest Chinese art collections, initially established through purchases made at the Centennial International Exhibition held in Philadelphia in 1876. Today it includes more than 7,000 works in a wide range of media spanning more than 4000 years. Strengths include Tang dynasty (618–907) tomb figures, Song dynasty (960–1127) ceramics as well as Ming (1368–1644) and Qing dynasty (1644–1911) imperial art and Buddhist sculpture. The collection includes more than 500 paintings, dating from the 12th to the 20th centuries, as well as costumes and textiles, furniture, jades, lacquer wares, and cloisonné. It also features three remarkable architectural interiors: an early 15th century coffered ceiling from an imperial Buddhist temple, a 17th century painted wood reception hall, and an 18th century scholar’s study that provide context for the collection and an exceptional immersive experience.

This renovation and reinstallation of the Chinese galleries is the next step in an ongoing series of reinstallations of the museum’s collection that began with the Rodin Museum in 2012 and continued with the renovation of its galleries of South Asian art in 2016. The reinstallation is led by project director Dr. Hiromi Kinoshita, The Hannah L. and J. Welles Henderson Associate Curator of Chinese Art, who’s interpretive plan is arranged around key themes through which four thousand years of art can be understood.

Coinciding with the reopening of its galleries of Chinese art, the museum has published Chinese Art: Highlights from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in association with Yale University Press (256 pp.) This illustrated book features highlights ranging from antiquity to the present day. It includes an introductory essay by Dr. Kinoshita about the collection’s formation, illuminating its unique character and importance. The volume is available for purchase in the Museum Store or online via store.philamuseum.org.

South Asian Galleries
Main Building, Second Floor

In a complete transformation of our renowned South Asian galleries, one of the world’s most significant collections of art from a vast area including India, Iran, Tibet, and parts of Southeast Asia is presented anew. Highlights include a stone temple hall from southern India, courtly Indian miniature paintings, ornate Buddhist works from Tibet and Nepal, colorful textiles, and lively temple sculptures. The galleries also feature significant physical improvements, such as state-of-the-art lighting, flooring, and casework that enhance the presentation of storied objects.

New works added to the collection include Shahzia Sikander’s video animation Disruption as Rapture (2016), which reimagines the Museum’s rare 1743 manuscript titled Gulshan-i-Ishq (Rose Garden of Love), and two large piccawai, or shrine hangings.


Darielle Mason, The Stella Kramrisch Curator of Indian and Himalayan Art


The reinstallation of the Museum’s galleries of South Asian Art was made possible by the Estate of Phyllis T. Ballinger, The Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Institute of Museum and Library Services, The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, William Penn Foundation, Gupta Family Foundation Ujala, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, and The McLean Contributionship. Generous donors to this initiative include Steve and Gretchen Burke, Sailesh and Manidipa Chowdhury, Mr. and Mrs. Donald Kimelman, Mr. and Mrs. Shantanu RoyChowdhury, Pamela and Ajay Raju, the Jones Wajahat Family, Paritosh M. and Srimati Chakrabarti, Drs. Julia A. and Eugene P. Ericksen, Ira Brind and Stacey Spector, Lyn M. Ross, Dennis Alter, Andrea Baldeck M.D., Tushar and Amrita Desai, Shanta Ghosh, David Haas, Dr. Krishna Lahiri, David and Jean Yost, and other generous donors. Additional support for the Museum’s building project is provided by Hersha, Shanta Ghosh, and Osagie and Losenge Imasogie. (Credits as of October 2016)