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.
It’s finally June. Time to bring on the triple threat of beer gardens, pool parties and sun screen. But don’t forget to keep baking in that culture with your suntan with our top picks for arts happenings this month:
• Zoe Strauss and Ashley Thompson: Wednesday, June 4, 6:30 p.m., Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, 118 S. 36th Street. Photographers Zoe Strauss and Ashley Thompson originally met in Florida during a project documenting disenfranchised voters. Now the two cross-generational artists reunite at ICA for a not-to-be-missed conversation series.
• Corner Store (Take-Out Stories): Opening June 6, Asian Arts Initiative, 1219 Vine Street. A new exhibition at Asian Arts Initiative explores the corner store as the keystone of cross-cultural communication, and a potential ground for social as well as economic growth. In addition, the collaborative project between artists Keir Johnston and Ernel Martinez will invite the participation of Youth Arts Workshop students.
• Microinvalidations: On Assault and Abuse in Radical Communities: Opening June 6, Yell Gallery, 2111 E. Susquehanna Avenue. In a local example of art activating social discussion, the show at Yell Gallery opens up a dialogue about victimization and survival. While offering a safe space for mutual support, it will also confront future possibilities for community action and accountability.
• #phillytype: Opening June 6, AIGA Philadelphia Space, 72 N. 2nd Street. In the great battle of serif versus sans-serif, there are quite a few typography beauty marks that can get overlooked in the scuffle. Originating from pictures of graffiti to street signs to engravings on Instagram, the exhibition at AIGA explores the history and future of Philadelphia signage.
• Mirrors, Marks & Loops: Opening June 6, Locks Gallery, 600 South Washington Square. Add a little movement to your image gazing with a video installation at Locks Gallery. Collaborative artists Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib create a series that includes everything from fantasy architecture to a glimpse into the studio process.
• To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before: Opening June 6, Grizzly Grizzly, 319 N. 11th Street, Second Floor. For the first time, artist space Grizzly Grizzly opens up its doors (and walls) to former members of the collective. The show will include work by the founders, and celebrates the experimental, unstructured vibe of the space itself.
• Art for the Cash Poor 15 Preview Party: Friday, June 13, 5:30-9 p.m., Crane Arts, 1400 N. American Street. Acting as a fundraiser for AIDS Fund, nonprofit InLiquid Art and Design’s evening preview of its annual summer arts sale serves as a meet-and-greet with local artists and an exclusive sneak-peek into the weekend-long indoor/outdoor festival. The event celebrates Philadelphia as the City of Makers, while a ticket price of $30 includes an open bar and free food courtesy of Birchtree Catering.
More June art picks, below.
• Summer Nights Concert Series: Opening June 18, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street. Just when you thought you were beginning to run out of excuses to play Indiana Jones at the Penn Museum, June 18 kicks off a summer series of concerts in the courtyard. Let your eardrums explore everything from Turkish folk-rock to Arabic jazz for a $10 cover that includes general admission to the museum.
• The World Is an Apple: The Still Lifes of Paul Cezanne: Opening June 22, The Barnes Foundation, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Even if you know very little about art, it’s difficult to separate the idea of still lifes from the artist Paul Cezanne. The exhibition at the Barnes celebrates his studies of everything from fruit to skulls, and includes a series of programming and lectures that will bring movement back into your static portrait of the man behind the masterpiece.
• RECLAIM, REDISCOVER, REANIMATE: Saturdays through July 26, noon-5 p.m., Destination Frankford Gallery, Frankford Avenue and Paul Street. Taking a vacant storefront and a party and putting them together is generally a recipe for disaster — unless you throw art into the mix. A pop-up gallery in Frankford is leading the way towards neighborhood revitalization this summer, with three exhibitions celebrating the theme of reclamation, rediscovery, and reanimation.
• Spiritual Strivings: A Celebration of African American Works on Paper: Opening June 27, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118-128 N. Broad Street. Two distinct exhibitions unite to comment on an essay written by W.E.B. Du Bois, stressing the importance of participating in and contributing talent to artistic culture. Featuring The Kelley Collection and Eldzier Cortor: Theme and Variations, together they highlight both the history of African American art spanning from the Great Depression through the 1960s, and the individual work of master printmaker Eldzier Cortor.
• Artificial Light: Flash Photography in the Twentieth Century: Ongoing through August 3, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Whether you’re playing at creating your own world, or recovering from that horror flick you talked yourself into watching, shedding some light on a dark situation is always a good choice. It’s a secret a lot of artists discovered with the invention of flash photography in the 1920s. An exhibition at the art museum illuminates artificial light’s effect on the photography of artists ranging from Berenice Abbott to Andy Warhol.