Press Release

PAFA Announces Updated Museum Exhibition Schedule

PAFA Announces Updated Museum Exhibition Schedule for Fall 2020 Through Spring 2021

PHILADELPHIA (July 22, 2020) -- The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) has announced the updated schedule of its museum exhibitions for Fall 2020 through Spring 2021. Closed to the public since mid-March in response to the public health threat of COVID-19, the PAFA museum is set to re-open to the public, with comprehensive new health and safety measures in place, on September 12, 2020.

Upon the public reopening of the Museum, the 119th Annual Student Exhibition (ASE) of the School of Fine Arts at PAFA will be on view throughout numerous galleries in the Historic Landmark Building and the Samuel M.V. Hamilton Building, taking place from September 12–October 3, 2020.

Opening Thursday, November 19 are Taking Space: Contemporary Women Artists and the Politics of Scale (through April 11, 2021) and Only Tony: Portraits by Gilbert Lewis (through May 16, 2021). The current exhibition, “Awakened in You”: The Collection of Dr. Constance E. Clayton, has been extended and will now be on view through May 23, 2021.

Taking Space: Contemporary Women Artists and the Politics of Scale (November 19, 2020–April 11, 2021) examines the approaches of women artists for whom space is a critical feature of their work, whether they take the space on a wall, the real estate of a room through sculpture and installation, engage seriality as a spatial visual practice, cast a wide legacy in art history or claim the space of their body. Curated by Jodi Throckmorton, Curator of Contemporary Art, and Dr. Brittany Webb, Curator of the John Rhoden Collection, this exhibition invites viewers to consider how size and repetition can be interpreted as political gestures in the practices of many women artists.

Consisting of works from the permanent collection, many of which are new acquisitions, this exhibition features the following artists: María Berrío, Joan Brown, Elizabeth Colomba, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Eiko Fan, Mary Frank, Viola Frey, Hope Gangloff, Nancy Graves, Clarity Haynes, Ellen Harvey, Orit Hofshi, Barbara Kruger, Leah Modigliani, Elizabeth Murray, Wangechi Mutu, Dona Nelson, Louise Nevelson, Ebony G. Patterson, Debra Priestly, Faith Ringgold, Brie Ruais, Betye Saar, Miriam Schapiro, Mira Schor, Alyson Shotz, Sylvia Sleigh, Becky Suss, Mickalene Thomas, Marie Watt, and Deborah Willis.

Taking Space is one of three exhibitions at PAFA in 2020–2021 celebrating women artists in honor of the 100th anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

With Only Tony: Portraits by Gilbert Lewis (November 19, 2020–May 16, 2021) PAFA presents an exhibition of approximately 25 paintings by the beloved Philadelphia artist Gilbert Lewis (b. 1945). Lewis is a longstanding fixture of the Philadelphia art community—as an art therapist, teacher, and clerk at a local art supply store (many have stories about his useful advice)—yet his work has had little exposure at Philadelphia museums.

Curated by Jodi Throckmorton, PAFA’s exhibition will focus on one model—Tony—whom Lewis painted numerous times in the 1980s. The history of art in Philadelphia—especially PAFA—is essential to the study of figurative art in the United States. Lewis’ work represents an important queer perspective on this tradition that has yet to be fully recognized.

The Woodmere Museum of Art and Kapp Kapp Gallery are also planning exhibitions of Lewis’ work in Philadelphia in 2020. These numerous exhibitions constitute a major celebration of the life and work of Gilbert Lewis, an artist who has had a major and meaningful impact on his community.

In response to popular demand, the current exhibition “Awakened in You”: The Collection of Dr. Constance E. Clayton has been extended through May 23, 2021. Featuring over seventy works by major African American artists, which were gifted to PAFA from the collection of Philadelphia educator and arts advocate Dr. Constance Clayton,  “Awakened in You” is a showcase of paintings, works on paper, and sculptures that invite visitors to experience the arc of African American art history. Featured artists include Sam Gilliam, Augusta Savage, Jacob Lawrence, PAFA alumni such as Barkley L. Hendricks, Henry O. Tanner, and Laura Wheeler Waring, and many more.

Additional forthcoming museum exhibitions in 2021 will be announced at a later date. Details on these and other exhibitions at PAFA are available on our website.


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.