Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular Avant-garde

University of the Arts



Rafael Ferrer, Fuegian House with Harpy Eagle, leaves, ice, tarp, branches, paint, Whitney Museum of American Art south moat, New York. Installation during Ferrer’' one-person exhibit, December 9, 1971 to January 9, 1972. Brochure by Marcia Tucker.


Ree Morton, To Each Concrete Man, 1974, rawhide, wood, paint, lighting. First installation, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.


Rafael Ferrer, Deflected Fountain 1970, Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Making the claim that Philadelphia artists played a central role in the birth of postmodernism, the Invisible City project will consist of extensive oral history research, conducted with artists, critics, and curators active in the city's little-known avant-garde visual arts community of the 1960s and 1970s. The research will inform an exhibition at the University of the Arts' Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery on the work of such former local artists and university faculty as Italo Scanga, Ree Morton, and 1993 Pew Fellow Rafael Ferrer, who all went on to work internationally. Among the show's considerable challenges: How best to re-present ephemeral installations and performances of the past? Also, how to capture the energy of viewing this work for the first time, in a very different urban context?

Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.