January 29 - April 17, 2011
Fisher Brooks Gallery, Samuel M. V. Hamilton Building
Philadelphia has been a center for art and science since the eighteenth century. Its art and medical schools have been engines of innovation and the expansion of knowledge for nearly three centuries. Team curated by PAFA’s curators of historical, modern, and contemporary art, Anatomy/Academy will be the first exhibition to focus on how Philadelphia’s dynamic art and science communities, and in particular the curriculum of the Pennsylvania Academy, fostered knowledge of the human body. Rather than dwell in separate realms these communities have often collaborated on and shared discoveries, transformed the attitudes of the public towards mental and physical health, and challenged conceptions about beauty. Philadelphia’s role in advancing knowledge of the body has been a harrowing and fascinating saga, from triage during the revolutionary war through current debates over stem cell research. Artists, often at PAFA, have been active participants in historical moments, helping to shape the public view of the meaning of the body and its place in the broader world.
Coinciding with the return to the museum of Thomas Eakins’s The Gross Clinic
will draw on PAFA’s rich collections, complemented by loans from Philadelphia institutions, private collections, and museums. PAFA is partnering with several Philadelphia medical and science institutions to integrate material culture items from their archives, ranging from anatomy treatises to William Rush’s anatomical sculptures made for Caspar Wistar. The exhibition will be arranged around pivotal period case studies in which artists, scientists, and doctors focused on important issues in human anatomy from 1805 (the founding of PAFA) through the end of World War I (1918). The exhibition will include drawings, photographs, paintings, sculpture, ephemera, and material culture that deal with changing conceptions of the body over time in Philadelphia scientific and artistic culture. Artists featured in the exhibition will include Charles Willson Peale, William Rush, Thomas Eakins, Christian Schussele, Thomas Anshutz, Charles Grafly, Marcel Duchamp, Robert Henri, Ivan Albright, John Sloan, and a newly commissioned work by the collective TODT. An extensive array of public programming will accompany the exhibition, including partnerships with local science institutions and a series of study days based both on the historic and contemporary body art in the city of Philadelphia.
A robust series of programs
accompanies this exhibition in collaboration with local science institutions such as American Philosophical Society Museum; Archives & Special Collections, Scott Memorial Library; Drexel University College of Medicine; The Library Company of Philadelphia; The Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia; Philadelphia Museum of Art; Thomas Jefferson University, and The Wistar Institute.
PAFA will also hold a Graduate Symposium on March 26th, 2011, featuring new research from the graduate departments of the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Delaware, Princeton University, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey and Temple University. Or consider bringing a museum staff member out to your organization to talk for free through the Traveling Lecture Series.
You can also explore illustrations and books from the show further
by exploring our digitized versions of these collections.
Anna O. Marley, Curator of Historical American Art
Robert Cozzolino, Curator of Modern Art
Julien Robson, Curator of Contemporary Art
Major support from Drexel University College of Medicine, Bill and Laura Buck, Marguerite and H.F. Gerry Lenfest, and Dorothy J. del Bueno. Additional support from Julie and Robert Spahr.
PAFA’s special exhibitions in 2010-11 are supported by generous contributions from Donald R. Caldwell, Jonathan L. Cohen, Max N. Berry, Esq., and James C. Biddle.
WHYY is a proud media sponsor.
Click here to read Edward Sozanski's review in The Philadelphia Inquirer.
Click here to download a PDF of Ed Higgins feature in ICON.
Click here to read a piece by Fred B. Adelson in the Courier Post.
Click here to see CBS Philly's coverage of Anatomy Academy.
Hear David Brigham on Thomas Eakins' The Gross Clinic.