Press Release

Contemporary Works On View This Summer at PAFA

PHILADELPHIA (May 15, 2019) -- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) has several new contemporary acquisitions on view from now through September in the Historic Landmark Building.

Eye Contact, a new installation curated by Jodi Throckmorton, features about 30 paintings arranged according to the subject’s gaze—from Kukuli Velarde’s unyielding stare in her nude self-portrait, to Judith Linhares’ couple looking skyward, to Barkley L. Hendricks’ stylish use of sunglasses to deny eye contact. This installation of 20th and 21st-century figurative paintings hangs across from some of PAFA’s great 19th century masterpieces in the Salon Gallery, creating a dialogue between past and present.

The works are on view from May 25 through mid-September, 2019.

“Many of the works on display are artist self-portraits—a strength of PAFA’s collection,” said Throckmorton, PAFA’s Curator of Contemporary Art. “Many of the artists are making a statement about portraiture—how we see and judge ourselves and each other.”

Additionally, several new acquisitions are in the Salon Gallery and throughout the museum through September 15, 2019, including works by artists Joan Brown, Sylvia Sleigh, and Wangechi Mutu. Also, PAFA purchased four works on view from artist Charles GainesNumbers and Trees, Tiergarten Series 3 (2018), as part of its ongoing partnership with the Berkeley-based studio, Paulson Fontaine Press. Gaines is a Los Angeles-based artist who has played a pivotal role in the history of conceptual art. He often uses grids or, more broadly, systems in his work across media. Gaines began his Tiergarten Series in 1985 by using numbers to chart the colors and forms of trees in various parks, including Berlin’s Tiergarten.

On view in Gallery 8 through September 15, 2019, is Jeffrey Stockbridge: Selections From “Kensington Blues", photographs by the Philadelphia artist documenting the local Kensington neighborhood and the devastating effects of the nationwide opioid addiction crisis. PAFA recently acquired eight photos from this series, which are on display for the first time.

Jeffrey Stockbridge made these pictures with a 4x5 film camera, a complicated apparatus whose conspicuous size and slow working speed meant each portrait could be nothing less than a collaboration between the photographer and an actively participating subject.

Artist Chitra Ganesh, PAFA’s 2019 Commencement speaker, has her works on view in the Julie Jensen Bryan and Robert Bryan Gallery in the Historic Landmark Building through August 4, 2019.

Primarily a recent acquisition, Ganesh’s mixed media work—everything from fake nails to tinsel and glitter—mines official narratives of history, literature, and art to bring forward under-recognized people and stories. In subject and form, as well as through a wide variety of media and installation modes, she seeks to redefine social codes by addressing issues such as gender and sexuality politics.

Ganesh currently has a portfolio of 11 silkscreen prints for sale through The Brodsky Center, a collaborative paper and printmaking center devoted to the creation of new work that relocated from Rutgers to PAFA in late 2018. The prints were created through Ganesh's residency at The Brodsky Center in 2009–2010.

On view June 28 through December 31, 2019, PAFA is pleased to present Bill Viola’s Ocean Without a Shore, acquired in 2010. Ocean Without a Shore is a major video installation and a profound experiential work by Viola that combines a reverence for the traditions of figuration and realism in Western art with new and cutting-edge technology.

Ocean Without a Shore is being shown in conjunction with the Barnes Foundation's one-person exhibition of the artist’s work, I Do Not Know What It Is I Am Like: The Art of Bill Viola.

Last Updated
October 8, 2019 - 1:48 PM

About PAFA

Founded in 1805, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts is America's first school and museum of fine arts. A recipient of the National Medal of Arts, PAFA offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the fine arts, innovative exhibitions of historic and contemporary American art, and a world-class collection of American art. PAFA’s esteemed alumni include Mary Cassatt, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.