This year’s Fringe Festival puts Antony and Cleopatra right back where we’ve imagined them for centuries: in front of a limestone Sphinx, flanked by the massive columns of an ancient Egyptian palace. Not a set design by an ambitious designer — this staging of the Shakespearean drama takes place in front of the real artifacts in the Penn Museum’s famous Sphinx Gallery. Antony and Cleopatra: Infinite Lives is a play-within-a-play that brings Shakespeare’s historical tragedy and the contemporary uprisings in Egypt into a roiling mix. The production melds the bard’s original with a script by Pete Barry and J. Michael DeAngelis ... More » »
Time, like death, is a subject certain to remain of eternal interest to artists, scholars, and the public at large; two exhibitions currently in Philadelphia approach the subject very differently. The delightful Tempus Fugit; Time Flies at the American Philosophical Society Museum (APS Museum) through December 30, is an exhibition conceived of as poetry, rather than the more usual form of scholarly prose. The artist Antonia Contro has selected works from the Philosophical Society’s collections that deal with aspects of time, and sensitively juxtaposed them with work of her own. She is interested in aspects of time explored by scientists ... More » »
News Renowned graphic designer and UArts alum Craig Holden Feinberg is partnering with the Pearlstein Gallery for an exhibition on the social impact of design and imagery. The programming begins with Holden Feinberg’s two-day residency at Drexel University as a Rankin Scholar of the Graphic Design program. On May 14, the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery begins an exhibition of Holden Feinberg’s work, displayed until Friday, June 8. The opening reception on Friday, May 18 at 5 p.m. features a panel discussion on raising awareness of local and global social issues, as well as displays of Holden Feinberg’s shocking, funny and forceful design work. ... More » »
It’s hard to imagine another exhibition that would be of equal interest to members of the AIA (Archaeological Institute of America) and the NRA (National Rifle Association), to subscribers of Hali (the leading publication in the world for carpets, textiles and Islamic art) and readers of Soldier of Fortune (the mercenaries’ monthly). Battleground: War Rugs from Afghanistan at the Penn Museum through July 31, 2011 is the first stop on a U.S. tour organized by the Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto; it is likely to amaze most viewers and will fascinate anyone curious about the world, the impact of war ... More » »
The art and artifacts in these two exhibitions are more interesting for their stories than for their aesthetic qualities, but a good story is a valuable find. Archaeologists and Travelers in Ottoman Lands at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (the Penn Museum, through June 26, 2011) focuses on three men involved with the first American archaeological expedition in the Middle East. If the Penn Museum is airing its dirty laundry in public, at least it’s an entertaining sight. Filled with feuds, fraud, coercion and madness, the tale of the excavations at Nippur (in present-day Iraq) would ... More » »
For the past couple decades ever more museums have invited artists into their store rooms to curate exhibitions: in an early example, the RISD Museum invited Andy Warhol; MoMA asked Chuck Close and Scott Burden; and Fred Wilson has made a career of the practice. The results have almost always been interesting. Artists, of course, have their own questions of and approaches to objects and collections and it’s always enlightening to see familiar things in unexpected ways.
Things are getting lively at the Penn Museum. I’ve just heard the museum is inviting the public (18 and older – not sure who they’re protecting – this morning’s BBC World Service carried a story about a company that’s marketing extra-small condoms for young users) to join in a discussion of what an exhibition on human sexuality might encompass; that sounds too interesting for artists and museum studies students to pass up! What about Sex(uality)? will be held at the museum on Tuesday, March 23 from 4:30 to 6:00 pm. Several distinguished experts will discuss four objects from the collection, ... More » »
Iraq has been front-page news for years and the Holy Crescent is central to Jewish and Christian scripture, so it’s surprising that some of the greatest treasures excavated there have been sitting in Philadelphia since the early 20th Century and been relatively ignored. The British Museum’s spectacular goat of lapis lazuli caught in a thicket of gold has a twin at the Penn Museum.
Advocacy means speaking up – for some one or some thing – and it’s not something we in the arts do enough of. Advocacy with elected officials is called lobbying and the first rule of lobbying is that if you don’t make your case known, the other side will. So last week I joined colleagues from across the country in Washington to lobby on behalf of the humanities (history, philosophy, literary and religious studies, art history, etc.).
Post by K-Fai Steele Map of modern-day Nigeria, showing the location of Benin and Benin City I went to go see IYARE! Splendor and Tension in Benin’s Palace Theater at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology a week ago, an exhibit that deals with the historical roots of the Benin culture today by looking at its golden period in the past. Close to 100 objects from Penn’s collection of Benin artifacts are on display. The Benin, or Edo Empire stretched from 1440-1897. Iyare! – May you go and return safely! is shouted by onlookers as Edo nobles head for Benin’s ... More » »Next Page »