Look no further than our monthly With Art Picks for your best bets on the local art scene in Philadelphia, including major players like the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts alongside smaller galleries and art organizations. (Photo by B. Krist for Visit Philadelphia)
With so much happening on Philadelphia’s arts and culture scene, we want to make Uwishunu, in conjunction with sister site With Art Philadelphia, your one-stop-shop for all that’s happening with local art.
Every month, we gather our top art picks, featuring exhibits and events at smaller, alternative galleries and art spaces, as well as at the city’s major art institutions.
The groundhog may have doomed us to more winter, but that doesn’t mean much in the city that provides a wealth of indoor arts entertainment.
Avoid your shadow with February’s top picks for arts happenings, below.
• PAFA After Dark: Peep Show 2.0: Thursday, February 6, 6-9 p.m., PAFA, 118-128 N. Broad Street. Secrets are uncovered in more ways than one with February’s edition of PAFA After Dark. Peep into the history of the academy’s collection, and then stick around for the big reveal – a performance by The Peek-a-Book Revue burlesque troupe.
• Crimson Landslide: Opening February 7, Space 1026, 1026 Arch Street. Life is made up of more than just big experiences. It’s also made up of the little objects that clutter our houses, our purses, and our relationships. In an exhibition of wool and cotton pieces by Erin M. Riley, it’s all about the small stuff.
• Last Memories: The End of My White Trash Paintings: Opening February 7, Snyderman-Works Galleries, 303 Cherry Street. For the last ten yours, South Carolina-born artist Kim Alsbrooks has painted over 600 miniature oil portraits with 18th century style. But what sets her work apart from its historical counterparts is its contemporary canvas – beverage cans flattened by passing cars and trucks. Also on view in the galleries is James Ulmer’s Razzle Dazzle, whose works play with precision, nostalgia, and the abstract.
• Mia Rosenthal: a little bit every day: Opening February 7, Gallery Joe, 302 Arch Street. Mia Rosenthal has turned internet surfing into an art form. Pulling imagery and inspiration from sources like Wikipedia – and defying the rule of college professors everywhere – her drawings sketch out more than just the everyday work of an artist. The main piece in her show, Life on Earth, follows the everyday evolution of life itself.
• Never like it Is Now: Opening February 7, Little Berlin, 2430 Coral Street. Unlike groundhogs, you may not be able to contain the weather outdoors, but an indoor experiment at Little Berlin explores the thawing and freezing cycle of ice. In interactive artworks that act as metaphors for preservation and loss, the amorphous exhibition is set to change along with the temperature.
• Roy Superior: Patent Models for a Good Life: Opening February 7, The Center for Art in Wood, 141 N. Third Street. While the modern myth of the artist portrays creativity born of a sad soul – see your nearest poetry book or Kirk Douglas’s portrayal of van Gogh – sometimes the greatest visual surprises come from the eternally optimistic. Sculptor Roy Superior celebrated an extreme love for life in all its nuanced detail, from Italian food to the sketches of da Vinci, with miniature pieces born of humor and sensitivity.
• Benefit v.14: Saturday, February 8, 7-10 p.m., Crane Arts, 1400 N. American Street. Nonprofit visual arts organization InLiquid celebrates fifteen years of transforming local artists from emerging to established with their annual fundraiser and silent auction. Featuring drag performances by Liberty City Kings, special guests Cory Wade Hindorff from America’s Next Top Model and Dom Streater from Project Runway, as well as works by over 300 artists, bid up and stand out at this open bar arts-extravaganza.
• ICA@50: Opening February 12, ICA Philadelphia, 118 S. 36th Street. ICA celebrates 50 years of contemporary art with 50 micro-exhibitions, rotating every two weeks. Featuring everything from film to painting to sculpture, just five visits to the space guarantees you a free year-long membership.
More February art picks, below.
• Paul Richardson: Through His Eyes: Opening February 12, Philadelphia Art Alliance, 251 S. 18th Street. What do you do after retiring from a successful career as a leading radiologist? For Paul Richardson, the answer was to start a second, equally successful career as a photographer. The upcoming exhibition at Philadelphia Art Alliance displays his work documenting the abandoned Holmesburg Prison. You might recognize the PA facility from scenes of Law Abiding Citizen, but its more controversial claim to fame lies in decades-long pharmaceutical and biochemical weapons research projects tested on the inmates.
• The Monuments Men: Lessons for the 21st Century: Wednesday, February 12, 6-7:30 p.m. Penn Museum, 3260 South Street. There’s more to The Monuments Men than George Clooney and Bill Murray. A free lecture at the Penn Museum uses the example of the treasure-saving men and women of World War II as a basis for modern-day policy in warfare and cultural preservation.
• The 1913 Armory Show – Wow America! Is that Art or Is that Insanity? Sunday, February 23, 12 p.m., Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Celebrate 100 years of the Armory Show with a collection tour at the art museum. The original fair, held in 1913 in New York, introduced America’s realistically-inclined artists to a stranger world across the pond, where Cubism, Futurism, and Impressionism held sway.
• The Emergent City – Transforming the Urban Experience with Dynamic Landscapes: Monday, February 24, 6-7 p.m., The Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. If you fall somewhere in the middle of the scale between tree hugger and urban explorer, chances are you find yourself perpetually torn between center city carousing and pop-up trips to the Poconos. The Emergent City lecture at the Barnes discusses new urban initiatives that combine the best of both worlds, like the NYC High Line, offering a future in metropolitan masterpieces.