As summer turns to fall, Philadelphia audiences can take in a number of Center-supported performances, exhibitions, film screenings, and other programs. See what’s on the 2019 cultural calendar at historic landmarks, parks, theaters, and museums throughout the region. Visit our events calendarfor more.
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Hidden Lives Illuminated
August 15–September 15
Eastern State Penitentiary brings the often invisible stories of people living in prisons to light, offering a rare look inside America’s correctional system through twenty newly commissioned, animated short films created by currently incarcerated artists. In addition to nightly film screenings projected onto the exterior wall of the historic prison, programming includes presentations by scholars, artists, activists, victims’ advocates, community leaders, and elected officials, culminating in a one-night festival during which all films will be screened.
At South Philadelphia’s 2300 Arena, Pig Iron Theatre Company stages Superterranean, a new visual-theater work driven by designer Mimi Lien’s fascinations with urban infrastructure acting in concert with the human body. The nine-person cast led by Pig Iron artistic director and Pew Fellow Dan Rothenberg explores human behavior, utopian environments, and hidden networks. A companion installation is on view at Cherry St. Pier September 5–22. Titled Section, Void, the public artwork “creates a primal architectural experience of seeing and sensing,” according to the FringeArts website, “and a way for viewers to contemplate the human body’s peculiar vibrations amid large constructions.”
The Wilma Theater presents a world premiere adaptation of Lebanese American poet, essayist, and painter Etel Adnan’s book-length poem There: In the Light and the Darkness of the Self and of the Other. A collaboration between visual artist Rosa Barba and director Blanka Zizka, There mines the poem—which Adnan described as “a meditation on conflict”—for themes of personal and community identity, displacement, and political dissonance.
More performances to see:
The Histories (Le Mancenellier)
September 11–December 19
Beth Sholom Synagogue—the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed National Historic Landmark in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania—presents a site-responsive, multimedia installation created by Pew Fellow David Hartt. Comprising video, sculpture, music, and other elements, Hartt’s installation centers around nineteenth-century Jewish American and Creole composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk in a work that “considers histories of Jewish and Black Diasporas in the United States,” says Beth Sholom.
Colored People Time: Banal Presents
September 13–December 22
The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) presents the final installment of Colored People Time, a three-part project examining the history, present, and future of blackness in America. Staged over the course of the year, the three exhibitions allow the artists and curator Meg Onli to build and respond to one another’s ideas over time. Banal Presents explores the present as the space where we “bend the relationship between the past and the future,” the ICA notes.
In Motion, In Place
In Fairmount Park and along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Trisha Brown Dance Company performs three site-responsive, outdoor pieces. Presented by the Fairmount Park Conservancy, the free performances include two works in East Fairmount Park—Foray Forêt on the grounds of the historic Mount Pleasant mansion and Raft Piece floating on the reservoir at The Discovery Center—and Roof Piece along the rooftops that surround the Parkway’s Logan Circle.
School for Temporary Liveness
September 25–October 2
The University of the Arts reimagines performance through the poetic frame of a school, employing educational structures to generate new forms of knowledge and spectatorship. In session at the Philadelphia Art Alliance, the School comprises three zones: the Classroom, with a new commission by Isabel Lewis; the Library, featuring a three-part “live-performance album” by nora chipaumire; and Study Hall, offering tutoring sessions led by expert practitioners, artists, and scholars.
Spit Spreads Death: The Influenza Pandemic of 1918–19 in Philadelphia
Parade September 28; exhibition opens October 17
To remember those who died and honor those who keep us safe today, The Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia opens Spit Spreads Death with a parade on September 28, marking the 101st anniversary of a Philadelphia parade that contributed to the spread of a local and global influenza pandemic. Featuring an art film, objects, photographs, and a digital map, the exhibition opening in October explores this historic time period, the pandemic’s impact on Philadelphia neighborhoods, and connections to contemporary health issues.
Dream Dance: The Art of Ed Emshwiller
October 18–December 7
Artist Ed Emshwiller’s (1925-90) diverse creative output included abstract expressionist painting, commercial illustration, film, video, and computer art, as well as collaborations with dancers, choreographers, and composers. Dream Dance at Lightbox Film Center is the first major monographic exhibition of his work and features film screenings along with a companion exhibition of the artist’s paintings, science fiction book covers, notes, ephemera, and more.
More installations and public programs coming soon: