Among the largest and oldest art museums in the US, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a pilgrimage site for modern and contemporary art professionals and enthusiasts from all over the world, due in part to its extensive holdings of the work of Marcel Duchamp, as well as its Constantin Brancusi sculptures. Through innovative exhibitions and programs, the museum has stayed true to its roots as a teaching institution and to the belief that the arts can positively transform society.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art presents the first US commission of a site-specific public performance by Yael Bartana, an Israeli filmmaker and installation artist known for works that address the complexities of migration, memory, and identity. An accompanying exhibition showcases the artist’s celebrated film trilogy exploring the history of Polish-Jewish relations, And Europe Will Be Stunned, which was recently acquired by the museum. The films are presented as an immersive experience featuring light, ephemera, and archival photographs and notes. Bartana used the exhibition themes—nationhood, belonging, and displacement—as a point of departure for her new commission, centered on the intersecting histories of Jewish Americans and African Americans in Philadelphia. During several research trips, the artist engaged with community leaders, visited historic sites, and mined Philadelphia’s history to create Bury Our Weapons, Not Our Bodies!, a “living monument” to the end of violence, seen in a public procession outside of the museum’s walls. The performance debuted in fall 2018 and was presented in collaboration with the public art organization Creative Time.
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