This summer’s Center-supported programs—presented at a working farm, a boarding school, and William Penn’s home, as well as traditional venues—include four new performances, a history-informed sound installation, and a cross-disciplinary reconsideration of the work of a notable Black American sculptor.
William Edmondson: A Monumental Vision Exhibition
The Barnes Foundation
June 25–September 10, 2023
An exhibition of works by sculptor William Edmondson (c. 1874–1951)—the first Black American artist to have a solo exhibition at MoMA—examines the complex relationship between Black cultural production and the American museum, recontextualizing the artist’s practice in the early 20th-century art world. A new dance piece choreographed by performance artist Brendan Fernandes activates the gallery space and elaborates further on the exhibition's themes.
nkwiluntàmën: I long for it; I am lonesome for it (such as the sound of a drum) Sound Installation
Through April 24, 2024
An immersive sound installation set on the riverfront grounds of William Penn’s home invites meditation on the enduring relationship between the Delaware Tribe of Indians and the tribe’s ancestral homeland, Lenapehoking. Created by Delaware Tribe member Nathan Young, the installation features original compositions by Young and others along with environmental sounds recorded in the area to honor and reimagine the tribe’s environmental song-making traditions.
Black Metropolis: Improvisations on Paint Factory World Premiere
Mann Center for the Performing Arts
July 19, 2023
Adapted from composer Darin Atwater’s 2007 Paint Factory, this new composition marks the 50th anniversary of hip-hop in a free performance by The Philadelphia Orchestra and West Philadelphia rapper Chill Moody, along with other rappers, DJs, choirs, and visual artists. The orchestral work connects elements of hip-hop and Black culture to the social movements of our time, examining the ways in which culture is constructed through music.
Be Holding World Premiere
May 31–June 3, 2023
A multidisciplinary performance based on a poem by Ross Gay explores themes of Black genius, justice, and joy— inspired by Philadelphia 76ers basketball legend “Dr. J” and his iconic baseline scoop in the 1980 NBA Finals. In a multi-year residency, Gay, composer Tyshawn Sorey, and director Brooke O’Harra developed the piece with musical ensemble Yarn/Wire and Girard College students.
Farming World Premiere
Kings Oaks Farm
June 22–25, 2023
Grammy-winning choir The Crossing performs a new choral work, composed by Ted Hearne, accompanied by live instrumentation in the cultivated field of a working farm. Developed over four years, the new piece considers what it would take to make the people who grow our food more visible and grapples with the impact of settler colonialism on current labor practices from tech to agriculture.
Terence Nance V O R T E X Concert
May 25–26, 2023
In connection with BlackStar Projects’ Terence Nance: Swarm exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Nance performs his genre-spanning 2022 debut album V O R T E X live for the first time. Pitchfork reviewed the album, noting that its “stunning production buoys the spirit of its sobering lyrical contents. [Nance] thinks in highly detailed cinematic terms, building complex worlds from experiential and hopeful collisions.”
Minerva Parker Nichols: The Search for a Forgotten Architect, on view at the University of Pennsylvania through June 17, illuminates the life and work of the first woman architect to practice independently in the United States with the first comprehensive archive of Nichols’ work.
The Mashrabiya Project, running at the Museum for Art in Wood through July 23, explores the practical and societal implications of the mashrabiya, a traditional architectural element of the Islamic world featuring elaborate wooden latticework.
Pool: A Social History of Segregation remains open at the Fairmount Water works through September 30, examining the history and present-day implications of segregated swimming pools in America through a curated collection of art installations.
Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America, presented jointly at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and the African American Museum in Philadelphia through October 8, exhibits new works by 20 artists responding to the question: “Is the sun rising or setting on the experiment of American democracy?”