Two recently completed Center-supported projects have released extensive publications documenting visual art exhibitions and a community engagement initiative.
Over the course of 15 months, Philadelphia Photo Arts Center (PPAC) worked with conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas and a group of artists and community organizers in Philly Block Project. Documenting the history and celebrating the people of Philadelphia’s South Kensington neighborhood, the project culminated in an exhibition and a colorful catalogue. The publication includes photos of Thomas’ work and selections from a community-created archive, alongside essays by curator Kalia Brooks, poet David Livewell, and photographer and Pew Fellow Lori Waselchuck.
In her foreword to the publication, PPAC executive and artistic director Sarah Stolfa writes: “We are all creative, and art truly needs to be accessible to everyone. The only way to do that is to erase the barriers between communities, artists, the art on the walls, and the resources to make and view it.” The publication is available for purchase on-site at PPAC.
Through the exhibition Charles Sheeler: Fashion, Photography, and Sculptural Form, the James A. Michener Art Museum brought to light rarely seen work by painter and photographer Charles Sheeler. The artist’s fashion photography for Condé Nast between 1926 and 1931 created a body of work that was instrumental to the development of his modernist aesthetic. On view in spring of 2017, the exhibition paired a collection of Sheeler’s paintings and textile designs with his fashion photographs for Condé Nast—much of which has not been publicly displayed in nearly three decades.
The museum’s in-depth exhibition catalogue features over 300 images, and includes essays by the Michener’s chief curator Kristen M. Jensen, fashion and textile historian Nancy Diehl, independent curator Thomas Mellins, and curatoratorial fellow Kelsey Halliday Johnson that illuminate how Sheeler’s work reinterpreted and shifted contemporary trends in architecture and fashion, and highlight the role of Condé Nast in shaping the era’s culture.