Philadelphia is filled with wonderful art museums and galleries to explore, below is a round-up of some of the exciting exhibits that are happening this fall and winter.
Drawn from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts’ permanent collection, along with select public and private local collections, the exhibit underlines the key role Philadelphia and PAFA played in the development of landscape painting in America – from the Early American Republic to the Centennial Exhibition in 1876 – and how that group shaped the renowned Hudson River School, on display through December 29. Also on view is Ancient History of the Distant Future, a major exhibition of works by contemporary artists installed in spaces throughout PAFA’s 19th century Historic Landmark Building. The pieces point back to historical artworks and find new relevance to the present, through February 2, 2020.
Experience the Age of Reptiles with Dinosaurs Around the World at the Academy of Natural Sciences through January 20, 2020. More than a dozen advanced animatronic dinosaurs are 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.
Civil War and Reconstruction: The Battle for Freedom and Equality at the National Constitution Center
The museum of “We the People” has introduced 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. One display are remarkable artifacts and rare documents from the Civil War Museum of Philadelphia – one of the largest, private Civil War collections in America. An exhibit on the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed the right of women to vote, will open at the National Constitution Center in summer 2020.
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.
A thought-provoking exhibit examines sculptor Auguste Rodin’s legacy in public monuments and traces his impact on monument design and modern sculpture, through December 2021. The Rodin Museum houses one of the largest collections of the famed sculptor’s work outside of Paris.
Brooklyn-based visual and conceptual artist Jacolby Satterwhite’s interdisciplinary practice includes video, performance, 3D animation, fiber, and printmaking. Drawing from an extensive set of references—queer theory, modernism, video game history, and personal mythology – he synthesizes multiple disciplines in immersive installations. In his first solo museum show, Satterwhite has collaborated with FWM as an Artist-in-Residence and has reimagined elements from his acclaimed digital animation work spanning nearly a decade, through January 19, 2020.
Realist painter Edith Neff was known for sophisticated use of color and her ability to portray drama in everyday life, exploring questions of race, gender and identity and probing the social and cultural fabric of Philadelphia. The first large-scale exhibition of her work in over two decades is on display at Woodmere Art Museum, dedicated to telling the story of Philadelphia’s art and artists, through January 19, 2020.
Cost of the Revolution: The Life and Death of an Irish Soldier at the Museum of the American Revolution
The Museum of the American Revolution’s first international loan exhibition features more than 100 artifacts and works of art that tell the story of Irish soldier and artist Richard St. George, who fought for the British Army in the War for Independence and was ultimately killed by his Irish tenants during the Irish Revolution. Along the way, he produced artwork and commissioned paintings that provide insight into the two revolutions. The exhibit runs through March 17, 2020.
Internationally-renowned artist Diane Burko has traveled to every continent to paint and photograph vast landscapes and to document the beauty of the Nordic Arctic. This show features dramatic images of Greenland, Iceland, and Svalbard from the last twenty years of Burko’s career and highlights the impacts of climate change on this fragile region, through January 5, 2020. The American Swedish Historical Museum is the oldest Swedish museum in the United States.
Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the National Museum of American Jewish History
The first museum retrospective on the life of iconic octogenarian U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg comes to the National Museum of American Jewish History, through January 12, 2020, exploring why the first Jewish woman appointed to the bench inspires such devotion. Based on the New York Times bestselling book of the same name, the exhibit was co-created by the book’s authors — Shana Knizhnik, who coined Ginsburg’s nickname, “RBG,” and Irin Carmon. Through archival photographs, legal writings, contemporary art, interactives and personal artifacts (including Ginsburg’s Supreme Court robe and jabot), the exhibition shows how a focused and hardworking student in the ’50s became a trailblazing constitutional lawyer in the ’70s and a beloved judge in the 21st century.
MFON: Women Photographers of the African Diaspora presents, In Conversation: Visual Meditations on Black Masculinity at the African American Museum in Philadelphia
The museum that is committed to telling the story of all aspects of African Americans offers a thought-provoking, two-gallery exhibition of photography that explores the construct of Black masculinity through the lenses of 55 women and non-binary photographers of African descent. Through an array of photographic genres including documentary, fashion, portraiture and conceptual, these image-makers share interpretations, observations and their own experiences concerning the notions of Black men, masculinity, sexuality and gender identity. On view through March 1, 2020.
Philadelphia had the highest death rate of any major American city during the influenza pandemic of 1918–19. A five-year exhibit, Spit Spreads Death at the Mütter Museum — dedicated to displaying fascinating discoveries about the human body with unique specimens, models and instruments — explores how neighborhoods in Philadelphia were impacted, how the disease spread, and what could happen in future pandemics. Now open.
Volcanos! Sharks! Based on the book by the same name by New York Times best-selling (and Philadelphia) author Josh Piven, this interactive exhibit at The Franklin Institute features a logical series of fun and immersive physical challenges, which provide the essential instructions to face unexpected— but possible—real-life scenarios, through April 19, 2020.
This show explores visionary and even controversial designs that could transform how people live, eat, heal, travel and find love. From lab-grown food to robotic companions, the Philadelphia Museum of Art showcases imaginative ideas that respond to civilization’s future needs, desires and fears, through March 8, 2020. Also on view is Off the Wall: American Art to Wear, a major exhibition highlighting a distinctive American art movement that emerged in the late 1960s and subsequently grew in the following decades. The exhibit features over 130 one-of-a-kind works by more than sixty artists, drawn from the museum’s collection and loans from private collections, through May 17, 2020.
Home to one of the world’s greatest collections of Impressionist, post-Impressionist and modern European paintings, the Barnes Foundation welcomes an exhibit of 30 influential contemporary African American artists exploring identity against a backdrop of pervasive stereotyping. From the canonical to the cutting edge, 30 Americans features works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, Mark Bradford and Kehinde Wiley and is drawn from the Rubell Family Collection, through January 12, 2020.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, the National Liberty Museum presents Forbidden Art, an exhibition hand-picked from the collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Poland. 20 powerful images of fragile and rare examples of art – made illegally and under potentially grave consequences by Jewish and Polish prisoners in the German Nazi Auschwitz Concentration and Extermination Camp from 1940-1945 – document the harsh reality of the camp. Others, like caricatures, albums containing greetings, and even fairy tales written by prisoners for their children, reveal their use as an escape from the daily cruelty of Auschwitz. Through April 12, 2020.
Philadelphia’s hands-on children’s museum presents a play and learn exhibition that allows you to step into your favorite books by Eric Carle. Co-organized by the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh and The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, the display can be see through January 12.