Fall Arts in Philadelphia: Milford Graves at Institute of Contemporary Art, Films at Eastern State Penitentiary, David Gordon On-screen

22 Sep 2020


Milford Graves, mixed media collage, 1994. Photo courtesy of the artist.

As the season turns to fall, Philadelphia’s cultural institutions are offering new exhibitions and performances, with both online and in-person programming. Upcoming events from our grantees include experimental dance performances, a retrospective on the work of an influential polymath, a variety of lectures and educational programs, and more.   

Visit our events calendar for more. 

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Milford Graves: A Mind-Body Deal
Ars Nova Workshop 
September 25–January 24 
Explore a lifetime of multidisciplinary creativity by influential polymath Milford Graves. In addition to his pioneering drum work, Graves’ interest in rhythm drew him to holistic medicine, martial arts, and herbology. The exhibition is available to view in-person at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania or through an online tour.   

The Philadelphia Matter – 1972/2020 
Christ Church Preservation Trust 
September 10–October 4 
Stream a newly commissioned performance work from postmodern choreographer, theatrical director, and writer David Gordon. Part of the 2020 Philadelphia Fringe Festival, the video piece consists of performances from more than 30 dancers from Philadelphia and New York, building on Gordon’s foundational work The Matter, first produced in 1972 and most recently reconceived for MoMA in 2018. 



George Nakashima Woodworkers, New Hope, Pennsylvania. Photo by Elizabeth Felicella, courtesy of the Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia.


Shofuso and Modernism: Mid-Century Collaboration between Japan and Philadelphia 
Japan America Society of Greater Philadelphia 
September 2–December 1 
Examine Philadelphia’s major role in the development of mid-century design through the work of and relationships between Shofuso architect Junzo Yoshimura, Japanese American furniture designer George Nakashima, and European American architects and designers Antonin and Noémi Raymond. The project also includes a number of tours and educational programs, many of which are available online. 

Hidden Lives Illuminated 
Eastern State Penitentiary 
September 18–November 15 
Take one of Eastern State’s fall Night Tours, which include nightly screenings of twenty short films created by incarcerated artists made for the Hidden Lives Illuminated project. (The films are also available to view online.) Tours of this historic site, once the most famous and expensive prison in the world, also include access to the Center-supported Prisons Today: Questions in the Age of Mass Incarceration

Being/With: Home 
Nichole Canuso Dance Company 
September 10–October 3 
Collaborate remotely with another audience member and an audio guide to create a new performance piece together via Zoom. As a companion to Nichole Canuso Dance Company’s Center-supported Being/With: Live (to premiere in 2021), this guided, virtual performance experience is available online as part of the 2020 Philadelphia Fringe Festival.  

The Contest of the Fruits 
Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities 
September 24, October 29, & November 19 
Learn more about the context for the Contest of the Fruits project with two online lectures. On September 24, poets Tahir Hamut Izgil and Abdul Manan Bhat share words of loss and hope in the languages of the Uyghur region and Kashmir (with translations and a Q&A). Additional programming includes a preview of the project’s animated film on October 29 and a lecture-performance on November 19. Watch the project website for forthcoming details. 

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Hidden Lives Illuminated film screening at Eastern State Penitentiary, August 2019. Photo by Jaime Martorana, courtesy of Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site.