Archived Press Releases
Samba Sessão: Afro-Brazilian Art and Film
April 7 – July 29, 2012
PHILADELPHIA — Samba Sessão: Afro-Brazilian Art and Film focuses attention on the visual culture of Brazil, formerly home to the largest concentration of African slaves in the Americas and the longest lasting slave system in the Western Hemisphere. Brazil has a rich artistic tradition that is little known or exhibited in the United States, an oversight that Samba Sessão seeks to rectify.
Collected in the late-1990s by John Axelrod and later acquired by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the fifteen paintings and three sculptures that form the core of the exhibition draw on different aspects of modern Afro-Brazilian life and culture. Created at the hands of twentieth-century Brazilian artists, the paintings, sculptures, and videos on display in the exhibition showcase a rich cultural inheritance.
“In the canvases, sculptures and films featured in the gallery, we witness birth, death, love, conflict, belief, and fantasy,” says curator Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, “We see bustling life in the big city and the slower pace of country roads side-by-side with ribald dancing and visionary rituals. The social and cultural landscape of Brazil is brought to life.”
Adds curator Tamara J. Walker: “The past - its weight, lessons, as well as its triumphs – is ingrained into the symbols and stories at the heart of the pieces on display, and as such it provides the key to understanding them.”
Samba Sessão is the product of a Halpern-Rogath Curatorial Seminar offered by the Department of the History of Art and led by professors Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw and Tamara J. Walker. The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Arthur Ross Gallery with support from the Friends of the Arthur Ross Gallery. Additional support is provided by the Center for Africana Studies, Latin American and Latino Studies, the History Department, and the Interdisciplinary Arts Grant, Office of the Provost, University of Pennsylvania.
IN MATERIAL: FIBER 2012 Works by LUCY ARAI, SONYA CLARK, MI-KYOUNG-LEE & CYNTHIA SCHIRA
January 28 – March 25, 2012
PHILADELPHIA — In Material opens at the University of Pennsylvania’s Arthur Ross Gallery on January 28, 2012. The exhibition presents four artists who bring innovation to the field of fiber art and deconstruct the popular definition of textile art with their use of unexpected materials.
Lucy Arai, currently based in California, was apprenticed in the practice of sashiko, a decorative stitching process, which she re-invigorates and applies to handmade paper and mixed media. Sonya Clark, who is Chair of Craft/Material Studies Department at Virginia Commonwealth University, uses thread, plastic combs, human hair, and found objects to create works inspired by her ancestry. Philadelphia-based artist Mi-Kyoung Lee, who is chair of the Fiber Arts Department at the University of the Arts, has had her woven backdrops incorporated into theater productions around the globe. Cynthia Schira, whose work is in the Philadelphia Museum of Art collection, digitally connects art and language in her elaborately patterned Jacquard cloths.
The exhibition is presented in conjunction with FiberPhiladelphia 2012, an international biennial for fiber and textile art, and in cooperation with Snyderman-Works Galleries. The Arthur Ross Gallery is pleased to partner with more than 30 other venues across the Philadelphia region to concurrently exhibit fiber art that incorporates new technologies, new materials, and contemporary artistic concerns. This exhibition was curated by Arthur Ross Gallery’s Associate Director and Associate Curator Dejáy B. Duckett.
Arthur Ross Gallery Presents Magnum Photographer Stuart Franklin
November 5 – January 9, 2011
PHILADELPHIA- The Dogon: Work, Women and Water featuring photographs by renowned Magnum photographer Stuart Franklin, opens at the Arthur Ross Gallery on November 5, 2010. The exhibition is in cooperation with the 2010-11 Year of Water at the University of Pennsylvania.
On Thursday, November 4, at 5:00pm, Franklin will give a lecture in conjunction with the exhibition. Please consult the Gallery’s website for location and other details.
In 2009, Franklin was commissioned by the Voss Foundation, whose primary goal is to provide clean drinking water to African communities, to photograph its work in the Dogon region of Mali, focusing on women and water. The purpose of the mission was both to document the Voss Foundation's successful water projects in the area, and to increase awareness of the global water crisis. Franklin’s trip to Mali resulted in a series of photographs depicting the life of a desert landscape, where water is paramount in the daily struggle to survive. In an effort to promote awareness, the photographs invite the viewer to consider water as a precious resource rather than an endless commodity.
Franklin was born in London, England and studied photography at Oxford Polytechnic and West Surrey College of Art and Design, He joined Magnum Photos in 1985, covering subjects such as the U.S. involvement in Honduras, unemployment in Japan, and flooding in Sudan. He won a World Press Photo award for his now famous 1989 photo of a man standing up to a tank in China's Tiananmen Square.
Franklin began working with National Geographic in 1990, covering more than 20 assignments for the magazine on such subjects as Inca conqueror Francisco Pizarro, Shanghai, the hydro-struggle in Quebec, Buenos Aires, and Malaysia. His book projects include The Time of Trees (Leonardo Arte, Milan, 1999), La Città Dinamica (Mondadori, Milan, 2003), Sea Fever (Bardwell Press, Oxford, 2005), and Hotel Afrique (Dewi Lewis, Manchester, 2007), “Footprint: Our Landscape in Flux” (Thames & Hudson, 2008). He received his Ph.D. in geography from the University of Oxford in 2002. He currently resides in the UK.The Dogon: Work, Women and Water will continue at the Arthur Ross Gallery. 220 S. 34th Street, Philadelphia, through January 9, 2011. Programming support provided by the Office of the Provost, and the African Studies Center, University of Pennsylvania. Additional information is available at www.upenn.edu/ARG or 215-898-2083.
"Naked: The University Collection Unveiled" opens at Penn’s Arthur Ross Gallery
August 28 – October 31, 2010
PHILADELPHIA- Naked: The University Collection Unveiled opens on Saturday, August 28 at the Arthur Ross Gallery. Featuring 42 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings and photographs of the nude from the 1st century BCE to the present, this exhibition is selected from the University of Pennsylvania’s outstanding art collection.
What does it mean for a body to be beautiful? Society’s current obsession with the body and its politics is relentlessly detailed online and in media updates of luminaries—from Lance Armstrong to Oprah, Brad Pitt to Lady Gaga.
Historically, it was the role of visual artists to document these cultural norms. Naked: The University Collection Unveiled showcases this evolution through works by Albrecht Dürer, Marisol Escobar, an unidentified Greek sculptor, Henry Moore, Eadweard Muybridge, Helmut Newton, Auguste Rodin, Niki de Sainte Phalle, and Edward Steichen among others.
Free lectures and self-guided tours on the subject of the nude will be offered during September and October. Please consult the Gallery’s website for details. Naked: The University Collection Unveiled will continue at the Arthur Ross Gallery. 220 S. 34th Street, Philadelphia, through October 31, 2010.The exhibition is organized in collaboration with the Office of the Curator, University of Pennsylvania. Additional information is available at www.upenn.edu/ARG or 215-898-2083.
Laughing Matters: Soviet Propaganda in Khrushchev’s Thaw 1956-1964
April 10- June 27, 2010
PHILADELPHIA – Laughing Matters: Soviet Propaganda in Khrushchev’s Thaw 1956-1964 will open at the Arthur Ross Gallery at the University of Pennsylvania on April 9, 2010. This exhibition comprised of 25 posters, most on view for the first time in the United States, offers a unique and thematically coherent sample of Soviet Propaganda art from the “Thaw,” period—a singular moment of post Stalinist liberalization during Nikita Khrushchev’s reign.
Curated by Liliana Mikova Ph.D. and Masha Kowell, Ph.D candidate, both from the Department of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania, Laughing Matters: Soviet Propaganda in Khrushchev’s Thaw 1956-1964 highlights the dramatic iconographic shift from earlier Socialist Realist imagery to the vibrant images and cartoonish figures iconic of post-thaw propaganda posters. Instead of the monumentalizing and formulaic discourse common in pre-thaw images, the posters in Laughing Matters display humor, light-heartedness and whimsy, and are reminiscent of stylized comic books and caricatures.
A symposium, The Thaw: Visual Culture and Beyond addressing poster aesthetics in the former Eastern bloc countries will be held on April 8, 2010 at the Max Kade Center, sponsored by the Department of Slavic Studies. Additional support of the exhibition is provided by the Department of the History of Art at Penn. On April 9 from 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM the Arthur Ross Gallery will host an opening reception. On April 10 at 2:00 PM the Arthur Ross Gallery will host a public exhibition walk-through with the curators. An additional gallery talk, Khrushchev’s Fateful Visit to Albania, 50 Years On, will be given by Dr. Richard Hodges, Williams Director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology on April 27, 2010 at 5:30 PM at the Arthur Ross Gallery. Please consult the Gallery’s website for details.
Laughing Matters: Soviet Propaganda in Khrushchev’s Thaw 1956-1964 will continue at the Arthur Ross Gallery, 220 S. 34th Street, Philadelphia, through June 27, 2010. Additional information is available at www.upenn.edu/ARG or 215-898-2083. Media Contact: Sara Stewart at 215-898-3617 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Silence Dogood: An Installation by Miler Lagos
January 27 – March 21, 2010
PHILADELPHIA – In conjunction with Philagrafika 2010, Silence Dogood: An Installation by Miler Lagos will open at the Arthur Ross Gallery of the University of Pennsylvania on January 27, 2010. Named after an early moniker used by Benjamin Franklin, Silence Dogood the installation will incorporate nearly four tons of recycled newspapers culled from the university and city’s recycling program, sculpted into a “forest.”
Contemporary Colombian artist Miler Lagos will create this site-specific installation in the Arthur Ross Gallery during a three-week residency as a Distinguished International Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania. Originally from Bogotá, Lagos is a multi media artist with an interest in relating different socioeconomic environments—urban and popular—and re-appropriating the different visual and social phenomena that emerge in each context.
With more than 300 artists at 80 venues throughout the city, Philagrafika 2010 will be one of the largest art events in the United States and the world’s most important print-related exposition. Prominent museums and cultural institutions across Philadelphia are participating in Philagrafika 2010, offering regional, national and international audiences the opportunity to see contemporary art that references printmaking in dynamic, unexpected ways and to experience the rich cultural life of the city in the process.
On January 27th at 5 pm the Arthur Ross Gallery will host “A dialogue with Miler Lagos: Artistic Practice and Process” facilitated by Lynn Marsden-Atlass, Director. An opening reception immediately follows until 7:30 pm. Special thanks to La Casa Latina and the Office of the Provost at the University of Pennsylvania for their ongoing support. Please consult the Gallery’s website for details. Silence Dogood: An Installation by Miler Lagos will continue at the Arthur Ross Gallery, 220 S. 34th Street, Philadelphia, through March 21, 2010. Additional information is available at www.upenn.edu/ARG or 215-898-2083.