Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular Avant-garde

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Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular Avant-garde

January 21, 2020 - April 4, 2020


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Opening Reception, January 30, 6:30 – 8:30

The Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery of the University of the Arts is pleased to present Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular Avant-garde, a major exhibition on Philadelphia culture from 1956 to the Bicentennial, funded by a major grant from the Pew Center for the Arts & Heritage. This project, the culmination of six years of research, examines the role that Philadelphia took in advancing the everyday that foretold the immanent postmodern ethos in America.

Invisible City will present major works of conceptual art, sculpture, painting, photography, crafts, and architecture. Shown in three venues at the University of the Arts and at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and encompassing over seventy artists, Invisible City is the largest exhibit of its kind since Three Centuries of American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1976.

During this era, Philadelphia was fundamental to urban planning, popular music, post minimalist sculptural installations, and postmodern architecture. Some of the first Pop Art exhibits were shown at the YWHA and the Institute of Contemporary Art. Among the artists with Philadelphia affiliations were William Anastasi, Bill Beckley, Denise Scott Brown, Piero Dorazio, Rafael Ferrer, Hans Haacke, Louis I. Kahn, Will Larson, Ray K. Metzker, Ree Morton, Italo Scanga, David Slovic, Robert Venturi and Deborah Willis.

Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular Avant-garde will be accompanied by a 300-page illustrated catalog with contributions by Rachel Churner, Jennie Hirsh, Sid Sachs, John Szwed, and Anne Tucker with additional documentary material by Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Marcel Duchamp, Willoughby Sharp and Robert Venturi.

On March 5 and 6, the University of the Arts will present a symposium on American regionalism, visiting Philadelphia's position from a national standpoint. Following the keynote by Thomas Crow on March 5, the symposium will continue the next day with contributions from Bob Cozzolino, Rachel Churner, Suzanne Delehanty, Ken Lum, Leah Modigliani, Dianne Vanderlip, and William Whitaker. This symposium funded by a grant from the Edna Andrade Foundation.

On March 5 noted alumnae Alex Da Corte will re-envision Allan Kaprow’s happening Chicken in the location that the original performance took place on November 7, 1962.

For the duration of the exhibit the university will display a Roy Lichtenstein billboard courtesy of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. Originally part of a series of artist billboards initiated by Audrey Sabol and Joan Kron, Sunset Sunrise will be shown for the first time in its intended downtown location.

Additional programming, including musical concerts and films, will take place during the exhibit. Further information will be announced as dates are firmly established. Initial research support for Invisible City was provided by a curatorial grant from the Clinton Hill Foundation.

Exhibitions are free and open to the public.

For more information contact:
Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery
The University of the Arts
320 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Gallery Hours:
Weekdays 10 – 5
Saturdays 12 –5


January 21, 2020
April 4, 2020
Event Category:


University of the Arts – Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery
320 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19102 United States
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