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Designs for Different Futures

Kōgei: Art Craft Japan

Present Tense: Recent Gifts of Contemporary Art

Herbert Ferber: Form into Space

Marisa Merz

Tomb Guardian Creatures (Zhenmushou)

Now, She: Two Sculptures by Ursula von Rydingsvard


Designs for Different Futures
October 22, 2019–March 8, 2020
Dorrance Galleries
Main Building

Free with museum admission

Whether it’s apocalyptic, utopian, or still up for grabs, the future is a perennial source of inspiration for designers. Join us as we explore visionary and sometimes controversial designs that promise to transform how we live, eat, heal, travel, and even love, in any number of possible futures. From lab-grown food and robotic companions to citizenship exchange, discover imaginative ideas that respond to human civilization’s future needs, desires, and fears.

A space for conversation, critique, and creativity for those considering the ideas set forth in the exhibition. In addition to daily drop-in activities, the Lab will host weekly events. Open to visitors of all ages and free with museum admission.

In Philadelphia, this exhibition is generously supported by the Annenberg Foundation Fund for Major Exhibitions, the Robert Montgomery Scott Endowment for Exhibitions, the Kathleen C. and John J. F. Sherrerd Fund for Exhibitions, Lisa Roberts and David Seltzer in honor of Collab’s 50th Anniversary, the Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Laura and William C. Buck Endowment for Exhibitions, the Harriet and Ronald Lassin Fund for Special Exhibitions, the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Exhibition Fund, and an anonymous donor.

Kathryn B. Hiesinger, The J. Mahlon Buck, Jr. Family Senior Curator of European Decorative Arts after 1700, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Michelle Millar Fisher, The Louis C. Madeira Assistant Curator of European Decorative Arts, Philadelphia Museum of Art; Emmet Byrne, design director and associate curator of design, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Maite Borjabad López-Pastor, Neville Bryan Assistant Curator of Architecture and Design, the Art Institute of Chicago; and Zoë Ryan, John H. Bryan Chair and Curator of Architecture and Design, the Art Institute of Chicago; with guest curators Andrew Blauvelt, director, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and curator-at-large, Museum of Arts and Design, New York; Colin Fanning, independent scholar, Bard Graduate Center, New York; and Orkan Telhan, associate professor of fine arts, emerging design practices, University of Pennsylvania School of Design, Philadelphia

Kōgei: Art Craft Japan
Through summer 2020
Galleries 241–243, Main Building

Craftsmanship is a major hallmark of Japanese design. This installation celebrates Japanese kōgei—one-of-a-kind, handcrafted objects made with traditional techniques and natural materials. The works on display highlight the specialized skills of contemporary kōgei artists working in clay, glass, and fabric.

Present Tense: Recent Gifts of Contemporary Art
Through December 2019
Alter Gallery 176

In this gallery, a selection of works gifted to the museum over the last decade testifies to the generosity and commitment of our patrons to enrich our collection of contemporary art. These works reveal a dynamic range of artistic perspectives, including politicized representations of the body, experiments with digital technologies, and evolving approaches to abstraction.

Marisa Merz
Through summer 2020
Gallery 171, Main Building

A selection of sculptures and drawings celebrates the life and legacy of pioneering Italian artist Marisa Merz (1926–2019). Occupying a unique and pivotal position in postwar European art, Merz’s work combines keen attention to materials with a deeply personal symbolism.

This gallery features a number of the artist’s recurring visual motifs, such as the female head, the flowing fountain, and musical instruments whose sounds are heard only in the viewer’s mind. With their delicate and textured surfaces, Merz’s works beckon us into a cosmos all her own.

In memoriam

Herbert Ferber: Form into Space
Through January 5, 2020
Gallery 119, Main Building

A Herbert Ferber sculpture animates the air around it. In the 1940s, inspired by Surrealism, the artist began creating increasingly abstract works composed of energetic flourishes and intertwining forms, like lines of bold calligraphy. This exhibition showcases Ferber’s sculptures and related drawings from the mid-twentieth century, offering viewers a glimpse into this distinctive and innovative artist’s mind as he grappled with space and form.

Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener Director and Chief Executive Officer; and Jessica Todd Smith, The Susan Gray Detweiler Curator of American Art, and Manager, Center for American Art

Tomb Guardian Creatures (Zhenmushou)
Through February 3, 2021
New Chinese Galleries: Galleries 226 & 233–236

4,000 years of Chinese art

Rediscover four thousand years of the art of China in our newly reimagined and reinstalled Chinese galleries. Go deeper into the stories behind the objects, grouped thematically in four eye-opening sections: Belief in the Afterlife, Nature and Self-Cultivation, Exchanges with the West, and Order in the Imperial Court.

The new installation features recently conserved works, improved lighting, and a wide variety of objects, including a stunning collection of costumes and textiles, photographs, and contemporary art on view together for the first time.
The reinstallation of the Museum’s galleries of Chinese Art was made possible by E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Hannah L. Henderson, Marguerite Lenfest, Maxine de S. Lewis, June and Simon K.C. Li, Joan F. Thalheimer, Andrea Baldeck, M.D., Sueyun and Gene Locks, Peter A. Benoliel and Willo Carey, Barbara B. and Theodore R. Aronson, The Women’s Committee of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Cynthia L. Johnson, Frank S. Bayley, Suzanne F. Boda and George W. Grindahl, Dr. Alan M. and Deena Gu Laties, Peggy Wachs, two anonymous donors, and other generous donors.

Curator: Hiromi Kinoshita, The Hannah L. and J. Welles Henderson Associate Curator of Chinese Art

Now, She: Two Sculptures by Ursula von Rydingsvard
Through April 1, 2020
Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden

A pair of monumental works by one of the most influential sculptors working today

Explore two majestic works by renowned artist Ursula von Rydingsvard in the Museum’s Sculpture Garden. First constructed in cedar and then cast in bronze and urethane resin, these lyrical sculptures exemplify the artist’s complex approach to scale, material, and technique. Now, She coincides with a major exhibition devoted to the sculptor’s work at the Fabric Workshop and Museum.

About the Artist
Born in Deensen, Germany, Ursula von Rydingsvard has lived and worked in New York since the 1970s. Her work has been broadly exhibited internationally and is represented in the collections of major museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Modern Art; the National Gallery of Art; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; the Walker Art Center; and the Storm King Art Center. To see more of the artist’s work, visit her website.

Alice Beamesderfer, the Pappas-Sarbanes Deputy Director for Collections and Programs

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