Philadelphia museum to spotlight creativity, past and present

Philadelphia museum

‘Portrait of Yarrow Mamout (Muhammad Yaro)’ by Charles Willson Peale (American, 1741- 1827), oil on canvas, 1819. Purchased with the gifts (by exchange) of R. Wistar Harvey, Mrs. T. Charlton Henry, Mr. and Mrs. J. Stogdell Stokes, Elise Robinson Paumgarten from the Sallie Crozer Hilprecht Collection, Lucie Washington Mitcheson in memory of Robert Stockton Johnson Mitcheson for the Robert Stockton Johnson Mitcheson Collection, R. Nelson Buckley, the estate of Rictavia Schiff, and the McNeil Acquisition Fund for American Art and Material Culture, 2011

PHILADELPHIA – In conjunction with a long-awaited and soon-to-be-completed interior expansion and renovation by Frank Gehry called the “Core Project,” the museum will inaugurate new galleries with installations that spotlight creativity in Philadelphia, including a fresh and inclusive rethinking of early American art and an exhibition dedicated to contemporary voices that address urgent issues of today.

“New Grit: Art & Philly Now” opens May 7 and runs through Aug. 22. It is the first exhibition in the New Modern and Contemporary Galleries Champions Artists Connected to Philadelphia. This inaugural exhibition takes the pulse of the city’s contemporary art scene through a close look at 25 artists: Mohamed Bourouissa, Doug Bucci, Nichole Canuso, Jonathan Lyndon Chase, Alex Da Corte, Micah Danges, David Hartt, Sharon Hayes, Jane Irish, Jesse Krimes, Mi-Kyoung Lee, Roberto Lugo, Ken Lum, Tiona Nekkia McClodden, Eileen Neff, Odili Donald Odita, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Howardena Pindell, Tim Portlock, Hiro Sakaguchi, Judith Schaechter, Becky Suss, Daniel Traub, Kukuli Velarde and Wilmer Wilson IV.

Philadelphia museum

‘Do you know how hard it is to get a black man through high school?’ 2019, by Roberto Lugo. Earthenware and acrylic paint, 66 x 32 x 32 inches. © Roberto Lugo. Collection of the artist, Philadelphia. Image courtesy of the artist and Wexler Gallery

Also on May 7, when the museum unveils its new Robert L. McNeil, Jr. Galleries dedicated to American art from 1650 to1850, visitors will enter a succession of generously proportioned spaces to experience the museum’s spectacular collection of early American art in an entirely new light. The new galleries will present a fresh take on art of the Americas with a focus on Philadelphia. This major reinstallation offers a nuanced picture of the forces – cultural, economic, and often fraught – that shaped artistic activity in Philadelphia and beyond from 1650–1850.

Broad-ranging and inclusive, this is the museum’s first major reinstallation of early American art since the nation’s Bicentennial celebrations in 1976.