Philadelphia Museum of Art

2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia , PA 19131
United States

PAST EVENTS

Souls Grown Deep: Artists of the African American South

From: 
Saturday, June 8, 2019
Until: 
Monday, September 2, 2019

Threads of Tradition

From: 
Saturday, April 30, 2016
Until: 
Monday, January 30, 2017

Art of the Zo: Textiles from Myanmar, India, and Bangladesh

From: 
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Until: 
Sunday, March 20, 2016

Drawn with Spirit: Pennsylvania German Fraktur from the Joan and Victor Johnson Collection

From: 
Sunday, February 1, 2015
Until: 
Sunday, April 26, 2015

One of the most admired forms of American folk art, fraktur are decorated Germanic documents featuring brilliant colors and often whimsical imagery. Transplanted to Pennsylvania by German-speaking immigrants in the 1700s, these hand-drawn or printed works on paper are distinguished by a broken (or “fractured”) style of lettering. Most were executed in ink and watercolor and embellished with hearts, flowers, birds, angels, and other lively motifs. The most common types of fraktur are birth and baptismal certificates, writing samples, house blessings, bookplates, rewards of merit, family records, valentines, New Year’s greetings, and religious subjects or texts. Philadelphians Joan and Victor Johnson have collected Pennsylvania German fraktur since the late 1950s. In 2012 they promised all their fraktur (about 230 works, dating between about 1750 and 1860 and mostly made in southeastern Pennsylvania) to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, thereby more than doubling the Museum’s fraktur collection and exponentially increasing its breadth, depth, and quality. In the exhibition, a selection of the Johnsons’ promised gift of fraktur will be shown with a variety of Pennsylvania German decorative arts from the Museum’s collection, including painted furniture, redware pottery, and metalwork.

Great and Mighty Things: Outsider Art from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz Collection

From: 
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Until: 
Sunday, June 9, 2013

Featuring over two hundred works dating from the 1930s to 2010 by twenty-seven self-taught American artists, the exhibition "Great and Mighty Things": Outsider Art from the Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz seeks to further the dialogue concerning the intersection of outsider art with mainstream modern and contemporary art. Outsider artists—untrained individuals who employ unusual materials and methods to create their art independently of familiar styles, trends, or movements—rarely have the advantages of money, education, or art-school training. Instead, the inventive, everyday quality and the storytelling aspects of their artworks are fueled by their own personal narratives as well as by the popular culture that surrounds us all. Many individuals base their compositions on ephemera such as advertisements, comics, magazine illustrations, and product packaging, while utilizing a variety of found materials including roofing tin, tree roots or branches, collaged printed papers, soot mixed with spit, chicken bones, and small plastic objects.

Despite their characteristic beginnings as artistic “outsiders,” many self-taught figures have gained widespread acclaim. Among the celebrated artists featured in “Great and Mighty Things” are William Edmondson, Howard Finster, Elijah Pierce, Martín Ramírez, and Bill Traylor. Over the past three decades, Jill and Sheldon Bonovitz—the latter a member of the Museum’s Board of Trustees and of its Committee on Modern and Contemporary Art—have assembled one of the finest private collections of American outsider art in private hands in the United States. Their promised gift to the Philadelphia Museum of Art is a truly collection-transforming event for the Museum, launching it into the top ranks of public holdings of outsider art in the country.