Press Release

PAFA Organizes Interactive Exhibition on Gender Equity and Power Dynamics in the Art World

PHILADELPHIA (February 2, 2018) – In response to allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior by the artist Chuck Close, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) is organizing an exhibition exploring issues of gender and power in the art world and the work place. This exhibition will be adjacent to PAFA’s current exhibition of Chuck Close’s photographs that will remain on view through April 8. The new exhibition will feature works from PAFA’s permanent collection that will catalyze conversations about power, gender, visibility and voice, as well as interactive programming on these issues.

A few museums and institutions have chosen to cancel upcoming exhibitions or take down works from the acclaimed American artist, after several women reported acts of sexual misconduct purported by Close. PAFA is the only museum with a Close exhibition in the U.S. currently open to the public.

“I am convinced that if we took the show down, we would be—in a way—cleaning our hands of the situation,” said Brooke Davis Anderson, Museum Director at PAFA. “We felt keeping the exhibition open would ensure we face this conversation rather than conclude that we’ve dealt with it by taking the show down. This facilitates a difficult conversation and PAFA wants to be in dialogue with our communities.”

The gallery chosen for this workshop idea juxtaposes the gallery where the Close exhibition now lives and will feature works from PAFA’s permanent collection meant to catalyze conversations about power, gender, visibility and voice. There will also be an interactive 10-foot timeline, stretching from present day to 2050, to which museum-goers will be invited to contribute and collectively imagine a future in which gender equality exists.

“We believe there are more stories to be told, more questions still to be asked, and a new canon to write, “ said Anderson. “We want to create a space that encourages full participation.”

The current exhibition Chuck Close: Photographs is a traveling exhibition featuring 90 of Close’s photographs, organized by the Parrish Art Museum and on view at PAFA through April 8.

Last Updated
March 26, 2018 - 2:31 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, Thomas Eakins, William Glackens, Barkley L. Hendricks, Violet Oakley, Louis Kahn, David Lynch, and Henry Ossawa Tanner.