Art Lovers’ Guide to Philadelphia: Fall 2019 Edition
Between its impressive museums and bold public artworks — the LOVE statue, the towering “Philadelphia Muses” mural, and Claes Oldenburg’s 45-foot clothespin, to name a few — Philadelphia has become an art capital on par with New York and Miami. At least, that’s how Frommer’s described it back in 2012, when it likened the city’s artistic offerings to “any other U.S. city in the cultural field.” This autumn experience a wide range of exciting artistic events and exhibitions in the City of Brotherly Love.
Experience “the world’s largest art gallery.”
With nearly thirty acclaimed murals (along with the aforementioned sculptures and installations), the streets of Philly’s Center City serve as a fantastic art lover’s destination. Mural Arts Philadelphia has compiled two downloadable “Mural Mile” routes that encompass some of the highlights, and by availing yourself of this unique offering, you’ll be supporting America’s largest public-art program.
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Mural of the Week: We The Youth by Keith Haring was originally completed in 1987 by the prominent artist and restored in 2013 by a team of artists led by Kim Alsbrook. This piece is the only Keith Haring collaborative public mural remaining intact and on its original site. We the Youth features Haring's iconic primary-colored characters and celebrates his contribution to the art world. Check it out on 22nd and Elsworth. | Photo by Steve Weinik.⠀ ⠀ #MuralArtsPhilly #MuraloftheWeek #PublicArt #StreetArt #KeithHaring #Artists #Philadelphia #igersphilly #phillybloggers #PhillyMuralArts #VisitPhilly #DiscoverPHL
Check out a city-wide exhibition.
One of Philly’s most buzzed-about ongoing exhibitions, “Invisible City: Phildelphia and the Vernacular Avant-Garde,” is divided among four different art galleries and museums: Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), the University of Arts, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, and Gershman Hall. Hop between all four venues, acquainting yourself with the city itself while learning about its vital role in mid-century American planning, artistic, and architectural movements.
Honor groundbreaking artists.
The Barnes Foundation’s “I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Like: The Art of Bill Viola,” which wraps up September 15, explores the history of painting through the work of its namesake videographer and installation artist. Elsewhere, Brandywine River Museum of Art, in nearby Chadds Ford, pays homage to illustrator, painter, and portraitist C. Wyeth in a sweeping retrospective.
Explore cross-cultural artworks and themes.
A number of autumn’s exhibitions reference international cultures or engage with cross-cultural themes. Start with Martha Clippinger’s show at Philadelphia Magic Gardens, featuring traditional tapetes, hand-woven rugs from Mexico’s Oaxaca, or view beautiful pieces at the recently reopened Philadelphia Museum of Arts Galleries of Chinese Art. Finish your day by viewing “Talking Continents” at the Arthur Ross Gallery, which brings together letters and characters from various alphabets to present a vision of “globalism without judgment.” “Martha Clippinger: Translations” is on view from September 13 to November 10, 2019, and “Jaume Plensa: Talking Continents” is open from September 28 to December 8, 2019.
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This vase depicts a scene of the Battle of Sishui Pass from the epic novel “Investiture of the Gods,” which is part historical fact and part fantasy. Based on the wars between the Shang and Zhou dynastic royal houses, the novel also includes fantastic tales of gods and demons who join the fighting. The presentation of the battle on this vase recalls contemporary woodblock prints and is full of dynamic action to attract the viewer’s attention. See it on view in our new Chinese galleries. • “Phoenix-tail Vase with the Battle of Sishui Pass,” 1662–1722, made in China
Unleash your own inner artist or curator.
What better Philly souvenir is there than a new artistic skill of your own? For those aspiring to their own creative hobbies or careers, Philadelphia Museum of Art continues to offer its monthly “Drink & Draw” and “Second Saturday Sketch” programs, while the curatorially inclined may attend the museum’s informative October 26 event “Collect: How to Purchase Art.” Check out the museum’s calendar of events for more information.
Plan your own artistic adventure in Philadelphia.
Art-lovers will clearly have no trouble filling an itinerary in this creative capital, no matter the time of year. If you’re visiting the city, find inspiration at The Rittenhouse, where refined accommodations provide a stylish, tasteful backdrop to your stay.