Gearing up for Gehry

The art museum gets meta with its latest exhibition, Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

On display through September 1 in the Dorrance Special Exhibition Galleries, interior and exterior models of planned renovations to the museum dangle overhead from the ceiling or sit in calm splendor on a series of table-top displays. Walking into the setup is a bit like stumbling into that episode of the Twilight Zone, in which a girl of Brobdingnagian proportions keeps her earthling pets in a model town. It’s difficult not to show the same level of fascination with these museums-in-miniature, cut open in delicate vignettes and presented like so many slices of layer cake.

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If the devil is in the details, then this exhibition packs more punch than Solomon’s ring. A view into the Great Stair Hall includes a working mobile (just add breath), while the garden layout harbors crumpled and folded bits of colored paper, cleverly quaint representations of – you guessed it – The Anne d’Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden.

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Among the proposed renovations laid out before the public eye are a lower-level excavation to create new underground galleries, a window view out onto the city skyline, and a new auditorium. Urban exploration aficionados will be especially appreciative of the re-opening of the vaulted walkway that runs from the door on the museum’s north side, currently being used as a loading dock. There the color of the original stone – still untouched by wind and weather – rivals the sunset.

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With its expanded interiors, walkways, skylights and windows, Gehry’s art museum is a Golden Age sci-fi dream, seamlessly blending the original columned colossus with contemporary corridors and pockets of light.

Jennifer Baker

Jennifer Baker is a visual artist working in varied media including: painting, monotype, sculpture, and installation. Her…

Jennifer Baker is a visual artist working in varied media including: painting, monotype, sculpture, and installation. Her images of Northern Liberties document the changes in that Philadelphia neighborhood…

Jennifer Baker is a visual artist working in varied media including: painting, monotype, sculpture, and installation. Her images of Northern Liberties document the changes in that Philadelphia neighborhood over a period of…

Robert Solomon

I am a pure painter and until recently a designer, director, sculptor, and printmaker. All of these have helped guide my…

I am a pure painter and until recently a designer, director, sculptor, and printmaker. All of these have helped guide my decisions as a painter from my early conceptual installations to my forays into…

I am a pure painter and until recently a designer, director, sculptor, and printmaker. All of these have helped guide my decisions as a painter from my early conceptual installations to my forays into esoteric knowledge as…

Michele Tremblay

Michele Tremblay's paper sculptures are informed by her intimate knowledge of flowers gained by working with fresh flowers…

Michele Tremblay's paper sculptures are informed by her intimate knowledge of flowers gained by working with fresh flowers over the years.…

Michele Tremblay's paper sculptures are informed by her intimate knowledge of flowers gained by working with fresh flowers over the years.…

Deanna McLaughlin

Deanna McLaughlin is a sculptor and designer in Philadelphia. She uses found objects and transforms them into quirky furniture…

Deanna McLaughlin is a sculptor and designer in Philadelphia. She uses found objects and transforms them into quirky furniture pieces. She loves working with a variety of media.…

Deanna McLaughlin is a sculptor and designer in Philadelphia. She uses found objects and transforms them into quirky furniture pieces. She loves working with a variety of media.…

Jacqueline Unanue

Jacqueline Unanue's current paintings series originated from my method of “calligraphic” painting: using spontaneous drawing,…

Jacqueline Unanue's current paintings series originated from my method of “calligraphic” painting: using spontaneous drawing, to evoke a primal mode of communication.…

Jacqueline Unanue's current paintings series originated from my method of “calligraphic” painting: using spontaneous drawing, to evoke a primal mode of communication.…

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