16 Can’t Miss Spring/Summer Exhibits

Philadelphia is filled with wonderful art museums and galleries to explore

A round up of some of the exciting exhibits that are happening this spring and summer.

Silent Secret Waterfalls at the Barnes Foundation

Pat Steir, The Barnes Series II, 2018. Oil on canvas. ©Pat Steir.

Home to one of the world’s greatest collections of Impressionist, post-Impressionist and modern European paintings, the Barnes Foundation welcomes 11 new, seven-foot-tall paintings by American artist Pat Steir, which she created for the museum—the first artist to make site-specific paintings for the Barnes since Matisse’s The Dance II. Silent Secret Waterfalls: The Barnes Series is the first installation presented in the Annenberg Court, through November 17, 2019.

A New Constellation: A Collection of Historic 13-Star Flags at the Museum of the American Revolution

Photo courtesy of the Museum of the American Revolution.

Prior to 1912, there was no official star pattern for the American national flag. As a result, varying arrangements of 13 stars appeared on flags, depending on the discretion of the flag-maker. The Museum of the American Revolution has gathered 40 historic flags to be displayed together for the first time in A New Constellation: A Collection of Historic 13-Star Flags. The flags are on loan from the collection of Jeff Bridgman, a leading dealer in antique American flags and political textiles. The exhibit includes one of the earliest known 13-star flags in America and is accompanied by family activities, through July 14, 2019.

Fahamu Pecou, Do or Die: Affect, Ritual, Resistance at the African American Museum in Philadelphia

Photo courtesy of F. Pecou.

This travelling exhibition serves as one artist’s action in opposition to overwhelming societal forces, seeking instead to elevate and re-contextualize Black life and death. Through performance, painting, drawing and video, Pecou reframes our view, incorporating references from Yoruba/Ifa ritual, to cultural retentions of hip-hop, to the philosophy of Négritude. Using these elements, Pecou shapes a story that seeks to affirm life via an understanding of the balance between life and death. The exhibit is on display through August 25, 2019.

Monumental Cloth, The Flag We Should Know at the Fabric Workshop and Museum

Photo by C. Avendaño for Fabric Workshop and Museum.

Textile and social practice artist Sonya Clark debuts six new works across two floors focusing on a dishcloth that played a crucial role in ending the Civil War, as the South’s flag of surrender at Appomattox. The exhibition explores the legacy of symbols and challenges the power of propaganda, erasures, and omissions, through August 4, 2019.

Introducing Tony Conrad: A Retrospective at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania

Tony Conrad in front of Yellow Movie 2/2/73 (1973) and two Yellow Movie—35mm Format canvases (1973), in his retrospective exhibition, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center, Buffalo, New York, December 1977. Photo: Kevin Noble. Yellow Movie 2/2/73. Courtesy The Estate of Tony Conrad and Greene Naftali, New York. Image courtesy Tony Conrad Archives. Work © The Estate of Tony Conrad.

The first large-scale museum survey of pioneering artist Tony Conrad, who helped define American avant-garde in the 1960s, is on display through August 11, 2019.

The Impressionist’s Eye at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

At the Moulin Rouge: The Dance, 1889-1890, by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Oil on canvas, 45 1/2 × 59 inches. The Henry P. McIlhenny Collection in memory of Frances P. McIlhenny, 1986. Image courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2019.

In addition to iconic oil paintings, Impressionists also worked in mediums ranging from canvas to watercolors to bronze as they changed the course of visual art. This show offers a new perspective on influential artists like Claude Monet, Mary Cassatt and post-Impressionist Vincent van Gogh by bringing together Impressionist sculpture, paintings and works on paper, through August 18, 2019.

Sara Berman’s Closet: a small and monumental story at the National Museum of American Jewish History

Sara Berman's Closet features the first-ever outdoor installation at the National Museum of American Jewish History. Photo by R. Bloom for PHLCVB.

An exhibit designed to showcase a woman’s humble 20th century immigration story is placed adjacent to Independence National Historical Park, the site of the founding of the United States of America. The first-ever public art installation outside of the museum at 5th and Market streets is complemented by an exhibition of original works by Berman’s daughter and grandson, Maira Kalman and Alex Kalman inside the National Museum of American Jewish History, through September 1, 2019.

America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far at the Please Touch Museum

America to Zanzibar: Muslim Cultures Near and Far photo courtesy of the Please Touch Museum.

An immersive and interactive groundbreaking exhibit focuses on local and international Muslim cultures through art, architecture, storytelling, music, travel, technology and more, through September 2, 2019.

Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes at The Franklin Institute

Spiderman photo by Sandro Vanini Museum of Pop Culture, courtesy of The Franklin Institute.

An exhibit highlighting the history, influence and excitement of Marvel – the iconic comic book publisher and entertainment company – through more than 300 rare and original objects ranging from early comic books to theatrical costumes, through September 2, 2019.

Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality at the National Constitution Center

A fragment of the flag that Abraham Lincoln raised at Independence Hall in 1861 is on display in the Civil War and Reconstruction exhibit at the National Constitution Center. Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

The museum of “We the People” introduces a new permanent exhibit that is the first in the country devoted to exploring the constitutional debates from a turbulent era of American history, the Civil War and Reconstruction, now open.

Outdoor Adventures: Navigating the Nordic Way at the American Swedish Historical Museum

Photo courtesy of the American Swedish Historical Museum

This exhibit explores the history of Nordic navigation, compasses, and the modern-day sport of orienteering at the oldest Swedish museum in the United States, through September 22, 2019.

Creatures of Habitat: A Gazillion Piece Animal Adventure at the Philadelphia Zoo

Philadelphia Zoo photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

Lego fans will delight in America’s first zoo’s exhibit of life-sized brick animals across the park that share stories of endangered animals, through September 30, 2019.

Mapping a Nation at the American Philosophical Society

American Philosophical Society photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

Drawn from the extensive collection of the oldest learned society in the U.S., the exhibit explores how early American maps were used to form physical, political and ideological boundaries of the new nation and how mapmakers acted as political agents, through December 29, 2019.

Rethinking the Modern Monument at Rodin Museum

Rodin Museum photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB

A thought-provoking exhibit that examines sculptor Auguste Rodin’s legacy in public monuments and traces his impact on monument design and modern sculpture, through December 2021.

Dinosaurs Around the World at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

See

Experience the Age of Reptiles with Dinosaurs Around the World, a new exhibit opening at the Academy of Natural Sciences, June 30 through January 20, 2020. More than a dozen advanced animatronic dinosaurs will be on display, including the mighty T. rex of North America, the Velociraptor of the Gobi Desert, and the Amargasaurus from the tropical jungles of South America. The exhibit also features a multi-layered narrative, fossils, authentic casts, cutting-edge research, and immersive design elements. Also, learn how continental drift, sea level fluctuations and volcanic activity allowed dinosaurs to disperse all over the earth.

Destined for the Stars at the National Liberty Museum

Photo courtesy of the National Liberty Museum.

The National Liberty Museum continues its mission to celebrate everyday heroes with a new multi-media solo exhibition by American artist Ricky Bernstein. With painted glass, aluminum and mixed media wall-reliefs, Bernstein honors the ordinary victories over life’s mundane challenges, August 2 through December 2, 2019.

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