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.

Jaime Alvarez is an artist living and working in Philadelphia. His background is in photography but has been known to make site specific installations.
Jaime Alvarez
Jaime Alvarez

Jaime Alvarez is an artist living and working in Philadelphia. His background is in photography but has been known to make…

Jaime Alvarez is an artist living and working in Philadelphia. His background is in photography but has been known to make site specific installations. …

Jaime Alvarez is an artist living and working in Philadelphia. His background is in photography but has been known to make site specific installations. …

Diane Deery
Diane Deery
Kathran Siegel
Kathran Siegel
Bill Brookover is a Philadelphia based printmaker who explores the colors textures and geometric structure of the world around him.
Bill Brookover
Bill Brookover

Bill Brookover is a Philadelphia based printmaker who explores the colors textures and geometric structure of the world around…

Bill Brookover is a Philadelphia based printmaker who explores the colors textures and geometric structure of the world around him.…

Bill Brookover is a Philadelphia based printmaker who explores the colors textures and geometric structure of the world around him.…

As my concern for our planet grows daily, I make art to express this, in the beautiful, mysterious language of abstraction. For the last 6 years I have been painting about our climate crisis in a series on rising waters, rain, birds, coral, forests and lost ice. I show both the beauty and desecration of our environment. I convey feeling through the use of color and movement.
Pamela Tudor
Pamela Tudor

As my concern for our planet grows daily, I make art to express this, in the beautiful, mysterious language of abstraction.…

As my concern for our planet grows daily, I make art to express this, in the beautiful, mysterious language of abstraction. For the last 6 years I have been painting about our climate crisis in a series…

As my concern for our planet grows daily, I make art to express this, in the beautiful, mysterious language of abstraction. For the last 6 years I have been painting about our climate crisis in a series on rising waters,…

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