Style guide

After spending last year plumbing the depths of human nature, the Penn Humanities Forum has decided to spend this year doing something a little more, ahem, stylish.

The Forum has put together a series of exhibits, talks and performances, all with a common theme — style.

What is style, anyway? It’s not just decoration, or musical taste, or fashion or cuisine, though all of those are elements of it. At its heart, style is the expression of the human urge to express individuality, and many of the events in this year’s forum feature people doing just that by various means.

Like the subjects of Sylvia Plachy’s photographs (one of which appears at right), for instance. For years, the Hungarian-born photographer led Village Voice readers on an “Unguided Tour” of the human landscape, and her pictures — on display in the series’ kick-off event at the Arthur Ross Gallery from Sept. 2 to Oct. 29 — feature individuals caught in the act of expressing themselves in some way.

Along with the main style series will be a parallel series that salutes “Philadelphia Style.” Beginning with an exploration of Philadelphia’s musical traditions on Sept. 5 (see day-by-day listings for details), monthly events will celebrate those things that are distinctly Philadelphian, from buildings to cuisine to arts and crafts.


“REPROS: PHOTOGRAPHS BY SYLVIA PLACHY”: Sept. 2 to Oct. 29 at the Arthur Ross Gallery, 210 S. 34th St. Gallery hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, noon to 5 p.m. weekends. Admission free.


Originally published on August 31, 2000