Mid-Century Philadelphia: Avant-Garde Art, Architecture, and Craft with Jennie Hirsh

Mid-Century Philadelphia: Avant-Garde Art, Architecture, and Craft with Jennie Hirsh


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This conversation will explore the rich and largely unknown history of "firsts" in Philadelphia between 1956 and 1976. Focused on the experimental art, architecture, and craft that emerged through a combination of avant-garde educators and their students, the seminar will explore the contributions of various figures that had a lasting impact on the cityscape of Philadelphia.

Artists we will address will be Dennis Adams, Bill Beckley, Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Ree Morton, Joan Watson, and Hannah Wilke, as well as visionary architects Louis Kahn, Denise Scott-Brown, Anne Tyng, and Robert Venturi. We will also consider the innovative world of craft that emerged in the city through works by William Daley, Wharton Esherick, George Nakashima, and Rudolf Staffel. Finally, the seminar will explore the amazing exhibitions organized by the Y Arts Council, including Art 1963: A New Vocabulary, the first show of Pop art on the East Coast in 1962.

Led by an expert on art and architecture, this interactive seminar will illustrate how a variety of players helped to produce the array of visual representations Philadelphia has seen since the 1950s. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of the art, architecture, and characters that played a role in Philadelphia’s visual landscape.

Jennie Hirsh (PhD, Bryn Mawr College) is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She has held postdoctoral fellowships at Princeton and Columbia Universities, as well as pre-doctoral fellowships from the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation, the U.S. Fulbright commission, the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, and the Wolfsonian FIU. Hirsh has authored essays on artists including Giorgio de Chirico, Giorgio Morandi, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Yinka Shonibare, and Regina Silveira, and is co-editor, with Isabelle Wallace, of Contemporary Art and Classical Myth (Ashgate 2011).

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

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