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Woodmere Art Museum Breaks Ground, Paul Cret drawings at Saint Joseph’s University, ‘Philly Daydreams’ at the Oculus, Judy Gelles’s works at RISDI Museum

Philadelphia is jam-packed with news and events and exhibitions this Fall. How wonderful, it's almost like we're coming out of a pandemic or something! Enjoy the News, enjoy your week, see some art, there is so much good viewing to be had right now. Be sure you donate to your favorite arts organizations this time of year. We are all very needy. Love, Artblog



Fourteen men and women wearing white hard hats and holding shovels pose for the camera smiling in front of a large, Victorian-era stone home that will be the home of Woodmere Art Museum’s Frances M. Maguire Hall for Art and Education. The transformation of the home to the art center will be complete in 2025.
Caption Groundbreaking for the Frances M. Maguire Hall for Art and Education (pictured from left to right): Chris Maguire; Mary Ann Boyer; Jamie Maguire; Woodmere Art Museum Board President James Alexandre; Franny Glomb; Woodmere Art Museum Director and CEO William Valerio; Maguire Foundation President and CEO Megan Maguire Nicoletti; Maguire Foundation Founder and Chairman James J. Maguire, Sr.; PA State Rep Tarik Khan; Matthew Baird, Baird Architects; Woodmere Art Museum Director of Institutional Advancement Anne Standish; Jeff Krieger, Krieger & Associates Architects, Inc.; Darren Damone, Andropogon; and Jane Sullivan, The Sullivan Company. Photo courtesy of Woodmere Art Museum

Woodmere breaks ground on Frances M. Maguire Hall for Art and Education

Woodmere Art Museum staff, Board of Trustees, supporters, planners, and friends gathered THURSDAY, November 30, 2023, for the Groundbreaking Ceremony of the Frances M. Maguire Hall for Art and Education.

The Maguire Foundation has generously given $10 million to Woodmere Art Museum for this endeavor, funding a major improvement to the institution and prompting it to rename the historic building. The gift from the Maguire Foundation, coupled with other generous gifts from the community, will fund renovation plans that include turning the spacious parlors and bedrooms of the 19th-century mansion into galleries for the museum’s permanent collection of works by Philadelphia’s artists, as well as a hands-on children’s art & education center, and public programming spaces. With construction underway, this project is on schedule with anticipated completion in Spring 2025. [Read Sharon Garbe’s review of the Woodmere Annual on Artblog.]

A Black, fourth grade school girl stands with her back to the camera, her arms akimbo, dressed in a white short-sleeve shirt and dark blue athletic pants; she is in front of a closed school door with two narrow windows covered with protective screening; text encircles the girl’s upper torso.
Judy Gelles, Wait to Go, USA: Pennsylvania Public School, from the series Fourth Grade Project
Digital Print on Dibond, 25 x 20 inches / 63.5 x 50.8, 2013. Courtesy of Pentimenti Gallery
An Asian fourth grade school boy stands with his back to the camera, his arms behind him, his hands clasped, dressed in a white long-sleeve shirt and black athletic pants; he faces a closed school door with two narrow windows covered with protective screening; text encircles the boy’s upper torso.
Judy Gelles, In Vietnam, USA: Pennsylvania Public School, from the series Fourth Grade Project
Digital Print on Dibond, 25 x 20 inches / 63.5 x 50.8, 2013. Courtesy of Pentimenti Gallery

Judy Gelles’s works in RISD and other Museums

From Christine Pfister at Pentimenti Gallery,
Pentimenti Gallery is delighted to announce the acquisition of two photographs from the Fourth Grade Project by Judy Gelles into the permanent collection of the RISD Museum. Here is a list of the recent museum placements that Pentimenti Gallery has successfully completed regarding the works by Judy:

2023 – RISD Museum, Providence, RI | Artist: Judy Gelles
2022 – San Antonio Museum of Art, San Antonio, TX | Artist: Judy Gelles
2022 – The Cleveland Museum of Art | Cleveland, OH | Artist: Judy Gelles
2021 – MoMA, New York, NY | Artist: Judy Gelles

Each placement is a testament to the collective efforts and Judy’s incredible talent. I and the Gelles Family are overjoyed to know that her work is in such esteemed institutions.

Fourth Grade Project
From 2007 to 2020, Judy Gelles conducted interviews and captured the portraits of over 300 fourth-grade students, representing diverse economic and cultural backgrounds across various regions, including China, United Arab Emirates, England, India, Israel, Italy, Nicaragua, St. Lucia, South Africa, South Korea, and multiple areas of the United States.

Gelles posed three universal questions to each student:
Who do you live with?
What do you wish for?
What do you worry about?

The Fourth Grade Project serves as a powerful initiative that not only documents the lives of children locally and globally but also aims to foster connections, building bridges and breaking down walls. [Read Martin Rosenberg’s appreciation of Judy Gelles and her work on Artblog.]


A black poster with white text announces "In Common: New Approaches with Romare Bearden," a group exhibit with many contemporary African American artists

New York – Romare Bearden and contemporary artists at the Vera List Center

From our friend Carin Kuoni at the New School –
The exhibition In Common: New Approaches with Romare Bearden is up through Jan. 15, 2024, at The New School, 66 Fifth Avenue at 13th Street. It’s kind of stunning, I think, with 20+ works by Romare Bearden and largely new pieces by Black Quantum Futurism, Kahlil Robert Irving, Lorraine O’Grady, Hank Willis Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, and Charisse Pearlina Weston.

An architect’s rendering from 1922 of the Barnes Foundation’s original building in Merion, PA, shows a large stately, 2-story edifice with tall windows and an entryway adorned with pillars and a recessed door; to the right and attached to the Barnes Foundation building via a portico is a smaller building — a house —with a pitched roof and chimneys.
The Barnes Foundation, c. 1922, Paul Cret. Courtesy of Saint Joseph’s University Frances M. Maguire Art Museum

Frances M. Maguire Museum at Saint Joseph’s University exhibits Paul Cret’s original design of Barnes Foundation building

A must-see for architecture buffs and those interested in Philadelphia building history and the history of the Barnes Foundation, the exhibit, Building for Art: Paul Cret’s Barnes Foundation and Rodin Museum is housed in the original Barnes Foundation building in Merion, which is now a part of Saint Joseph’s University.

The Architectural History Gallery highlights the history relevant to the Maguire Art Museum building. The first installation, curated by architectural historian David B. Brownlee, focuses on Paul Cret’s designs for the museum’s building and the Rodin Museum in Center City Philadelphia.

Paul Phillippe Cret (1876 – 1945) trained in the modern classicism of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, directed the architecture program at the University of Pennsylvania. Cret was a prolific and influential architect. In the Philadelphia area, Cret co-designed (with Jacques Greber) the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, including the Rodin Museum. He also built the Delaware River Bridge, now known as the Ben Franklin Bridge, with an engineer. Barnes called him America’s “best architect.” He hired Cret to build a museum for his collection on a lot beside his home in 1922.

Cret’s other projects include the Memorial Arch at Valley Forge, Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, the Pan American Union building and the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., and the campuses of Brown University and the University of Texas at Austin.
The exhibition includes correspondence between Albert Barnes and Cret, sketches, and ephemera associated with both structures. It is made possible through loans from the Barnes Foundation, the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.


A mostly green poster with black text announces "Philly Daydreams: Stories in Transit" from dec. 12-14, 2023

Philly Daydreams – Stories in Transit

From artist Anula Shetty –
Hope you are well! Iʻm so delighted to let you know that my public art project, “Philly Daydreams – Stories in Transit.” is going to be installed at the Oculus for 3 days in December. As part of this project I had created a multi-channel installation at the Oculus – the subway station under City Hall, below Dilworth Plaza.
Here are the remaining public dates:
Wednesday, December 13, 3pm – 6pm
Thursday, December 14, 3pm – 6pm

Artblog asked Anula about the logistics of seeing the project:
Artblog: How can I see these videos?
Anula Shetty: The videos can be accessed via QR code on car cards that are placed in the trains and buses to replace advertisements on the BSL lines and Number 15 trolley route. On the RR lines, the QR code comes up on the video screens. Iʻve attached some photos of the car cards to this email – you can just hold your phone up to it and the QR code will activate the video. In the second photo pasted below, Septa Bus driver Emilio Tapia stands below Philly Daydreams car cards on the Broad Street Line. I wanted riders to feel that they are traveling along with the commuters and Septa employees who are sharing their stories.

Artblog: Where are the story kiosks?
Anula Shetty: The short story kiosks are at located at the Philadelphia Airport, at Jefferson station, Parkway Central Free Library and SEPTA headquarters 1234 Market. On December 12-14, we will have one of the story kiosks at the Oculus.

Artblog: How do I access the Oculus?
Anula Shetty: To get to the Oculus, you have to go to City Hallʻs Dilworth Plaza south, Walk down the glass stairway under Dilworth Plaza to the subway station below. The passage to the Oculus is to the right.

Artblog: Will the Oculus be open permanently now?
Anula Shetty: The Oculus is open only for this installation and these event timings. It is otherwise closed.

“Philly Daydreams: Stories in Transit,” will be displayed as a multi-channel installation for three days in December. The event takes place in the underground Oculus, below Dilworth Park South, City Hall. This space has been closed to the public since the onset of the pandemic. Over the past year, artist and filmmaker Anula Shetty has been working with Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, SEPTA, doing research and filming interviews with SEPTA drivers, community residents, local artists, and local activists. Beginning in October, @septaphilly riders across the city of Philadelphia encountered an incredible series of QR-activated portraits offering transit riders the opportunity to virtually travel alongside fellow Philadelphians as they tell stories of wonder, daydream, and connection. The project can be experienced on SEPTA’s Broad Street Line, Regional Rail Lines, select trolleys, and transcripted stories can be accessed through short story kiosk dispensers placed across the city. This interactive, multi-pronged public art project highlights shared transit experiences and stories across the city of Philadelphia.

Launched by Forman Arts Initiative and Mural Arts, the Public Works program places artists in Philadelphia government agencies and organizations to develop artwork that forges new connections between the agencies’ work and the communities they serve.