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.

From Today, Painting is Dead: Early Photography in France and Britain at the Barnes Foundation

Peter Henry Emerson. Gathering Water Lilies, 1885, Platinum print. 7 7/8 x 11 3/8 inches. Collection of Michael Mattis and Judy Hochberg. Photo courtesy of the Barnes Foundation.

A survey of photographs created by over 60 British and French photographers who experimented with the new medium and transformed well-established tropes of the dominant academic painting tradition between the 1840s and 1880s. Most of the photographs are on display for the first time, through May 12, 2019.

AAMP on Paper: Selections from the Permanent Collection and Baye Fall: Roots in Spirituality, Fashion and Resistance and Photography by Laylah Amatullah Barrayn at the African American Museum in Philadelphia

Baye Fall: Roots in Spirituality, Fashion and Resistance and Photography. Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

Get a glimpse of the Museum’s rarely seen works on paper, including drawings, photography, paintings and prints from 20th century masters such as Elizabeth Catlett, Paul Keane, Hughie Lee Smith, Dox Thrash and Hale Woodruff. A traveling exhibition from the Museum of Contemporary Diasporan Arts (MoCADA) in Brooklyn, New York, this photographic series visually engages the Baye Fall, an enterprising sub-group of Senegal’s notable Sufi Muslim Community. The Mourides possess a unique aesthetic that includes “locked” hair, patchwork garments, symphonic chanting and artisanal leather talismans and prayer beads and the series depicts how pre and post-colonial politics have influenced their spiritual practice. This show is also in conjunction with PhilAesthetic: AAMP celebrates the African Diaspora in Philly. Both shows run through May 12, 2019.

Freedom’s Journal: The Art of Jerry Pinkney at Woodmere Art Museum

From Bondage to Freedom, from the National Park Service Underground Railroad Handbook. Photo courtesy of Woodmere Art Museum.

A large-scale exhibition of over 100 illustrations by award-winning, Philadelphia-born master watercolorist and renowned illustrator Jerry Pinkney focuses on civil rights and the pursuit of freedom, through May 12, 2019.

American Beauty at the Brandywine River Museum of Art

Theodore Robinson, Yacht Club Basin, Cos Cob Harbor, 1894, oil on wood panel, 10 × 13 1/2 in. Brandywine River Museum of Art. Richard M. Scaife Bequest, 2015

The first public display of 50 paintings from the Scaife collection, bequeathed to the Brandywine River Museum of Art and the Westmoreland Museum of American Art by philanthropist Richard M. Scaife offers an overview of the evolution of American art in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, through May 27, 2019.

Mythic Creatures: Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University

Mythic Creatures at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Photo by K. Huff for PHLCVB.

See how dinosaur fossils may have been mistaken for the remains of griffins in this exhibit that traces the natural and cultural roots of some of the most enduring creatures of myth and how they were often inspired by real fossils or living animals, through June 9, 2019.

Welcome the Stranger at the National Liberty Museum

Photo courtesy of National Liberty Museum.

Through cast glass, ceramics, and mixed media, artist Micaela Amateau Amato interprets the likeness of modern and historic figures who rose like “superheroes” to accept seemingly impossible challenges of liberty such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Harriet Tubman, Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Einstein, Malala Yousafzai, and many others, on display through June 9, 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, April 16 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, April 13 through September 2, 2019.

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

Photo courtesy of the National Constitution Center

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, opening May 9, 2019.

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.

Mapping a Nation at the American Philosophical Society

Photo courtesy of the American Philosophical Society

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, April 12 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.


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