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June 21, 2005 to August 21, 2005

Rittenhouse Square Collects: Part One

To commemorate the 90th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Art Alliance, a series of dynamic exhibitions and programs are being held throughout 2005. This initiative, entitled Celebrating Rittenhouse Square, includes three major exhibitions to celebrate one of Philadelphia’s oldest cultural institutions. Helen W. Drutt English Philadelphia conceived the exhibition schedule for the 90th Anniversary Year and serves as the Project Director for these exhibitions.

The first exhibition “In Ever Greater Measure” was organized by Melissa Caldwell, Exhibition and Design Associate of the Philadelphia Art Alliance. The exhibition encompassed historical artifacts, documents, photographs, and other ephemera that concentrate on the history of Rittenhouse Square and the legacy of the PAA within that community.

The next two separate exhibitions, entitled Rittenhouse Square Collects, are planned for the remainder of our Anniversary celebration. It has often been stated that a major exhibition series could be drawn from the private collections housed in the dwellings around the Square. Many of these are collections that have never been accessible to the general public until now.

The Philadelphia Art Alliance has worked closely with James Jensen, Associate Director and Chief Curator of The Contemporary Museum, Honolulu who selected works from private collections around the Square. The summer exhibition is an eclectic choice of works spanning the 18th century to the present and ranges from Indian textiles and drawings to early American decorative arts, to Art Deco French ceramics, to Philadelphia modernist paintings to late 20th century contemporary ceramics and jewelry. Works by Peter Voulkos, William Daley, Kato Yasukage, Manfred Bischoff, Kiff Slemmons, Peter Chang, and Bruno Martinazzi will be on view along with works by contemporary European, American, and Latin American prints, drawings, and video works. Among them are Robert Mangold, Rivane Neuenschwander, Richard Serra, Robert Rauschenberg, Kiki Smith, Quentin Morris, and Christian Marclay. Of particular note in the exhibition are Sol Lewitt’s Drawing #84, 10,000 lines 10 inches long, and French artist Melik Ohanian’s nine-channel video installation, The Hand (2003). Robert Arneson’s 1976 self-portrait, The Graduate, will be publicly exhibited for the first time since 1979.

This public access to private collections should draw the cultural community to the Rittenhouse Square area. More significantly, these collections emphasize the range of collecting interests as well as the philanthropic spirit of the Rittenhouse community in their support of the central position of the Philadelphia Art Alliance.