Must-See Exhibition: Discover The Rarely Seen Paintings, Drawings And First Short Films Of Iconic Director David Lynch During The Unified Field At The Pennsylvania Academy Of The Fine Arts Through January 2015

David Lynch at PAFA
Discover 90+ rarely seen paintings, drawings and short films of David Lynch during The Unified Field at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. (Photo courtesy David Lynch)

Having praised Philadelphia as his “greatest inspiration,” renowned filmmaker and artist David Lynch is returning to the city for the first-ever retrospective of his rarely seen artwork.

Lynch studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) from January 1966 until the summer of 1967 and during that time he found inspiration in the buildings, people and general mood pervasive throughout the city.

Following his stint in Philadelphia, Lynch’s personal experiences in the city and surreal visions found their way into influential films like Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, Mulholland Drive as well as the acclaimed television series Twin Peaks. In addition to his success as a director, Lynch continues to produce an impressive output of work in a variety of artistic mediums from painting to printmaking to music.

Opening at PAFA this Saturday, September 13,  David Lynch: The Unified Field is a comprehensive look at Lynch’s artwork from 1965 to the present day including rarely seen paintings, drawings and short films, many of which were made during his time in Philadelphia.

David Lynch at PAFA
The Unified Field, on display in PAFA’s historic Landmark Building, features many rarely seen paintings and drawings created by Lynch from 1965-present day. (Photo by T. Scheid for Visit Philadelphia)

The Exhibition

Organized in close collaboration with Lynch himself, The Unified Field is the first major museum exhibition in the United States to showcase his works.

The exhibition includes approximately 90 paintings and drawings from 1965 to the present with many that have never before been seen in public. You will also have a chance to see early short films created during Lynch’s time in Philadelphia including Six Men Getting Sick (1967), a hybrid work of art that brings together painting, sculpture, sound, film and restaged as originally displayed.

Many of Lynch’s works combine artistic methods and mediums to create intense, textural works with recurring themes and tense narratives. Discover early studies that inspired disturbing visuals from his film Eraserhead and massive works depicting childhood memories, nightmares and flashbacks.

Read more about David Lynch: The Unified Field below.

The complementary exhibition Something Clicked in Philly examines the work of Lynch’s contemporaries during his time at PAFA, many of which inspired the artist with their artistic energy and work ethic.

David Lynch at PAFA
David Lynch’s works utilize a variety of mediums to create intense, textural works with recurring themes and tense narratives. (Photo by T. Scheid for Visit Philadelphia)

Special Programming and Events

Philadelphia is embracing the world of David Lynch with special events and activities throughout the city over the course of the exhibition. After exploring Lynch’s artwork, head over to Federal Donuts for a limited edition series of Lynch-inspired fancies including Good Coffee and Blue Velvet varieties.

Throughout the months to come there will be David Lynch film retrospectives, artist Q&A sessions, tours of the “Eraserhood” and much more. We’ve put together a few highlights below.

David Lynch Revisited: A Retrospective Film Series

The Philadelphia Film Society is taking a comprehensive look at the work of David Lynch during a two-month retrospective. Get fully immersed into Lynch’s cinematic world with moderated discussions and film screenings, including a Conversation with David Lynch and screening of Lost Highway at the Prince Music Theater on September 10. September 17, 25; October 1, 9, 16-26, Prince Music Theater, 1412 Chestnut Street

Eraserhood Forever at PhilaMOCA

The Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art hosts their third installment of an artistic celebration inspired by David Lynch. Through September 27, PhilaMOCA, 531 N. 12th St.

A Celebration of David Lynch at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute

The Bryn Mawr Film Institute hosts a screening Lynch’s iconic films including Mulholland Drive (September 17) and an evening discussion with David Lynch at the historic theater on September 13. September 13, 17, Bryn Mawr Film Institute, 824 W. Lancaster Ave.

Hidden City Walking Tour: David Lynch’s “Eraserhood”

Wander through Philadelphia’s Callowhill neighborhood with Hidden City’s Peter Woodall and discover how it ignited David Lynch’s imagination during the late 1960s. October 4, November 1, Tour meets at PAFA, 118 North Broad Street

“It’s A Strange World”: Music of David Lynch

Philadelphia musicians gather for an evening of incredible live music inspired by David Lynch’s Work. Scheduled performers include Northern Arms, Stinking Lizaveta, Pattern Is Movement, Teena Geist, Martha Graham Cracker, James Sugg, Maxx Stoyanoff-Williams, and Murmuration. November 6, PAFA, 118 North Broad Street

A “Peek” At Twin Peaks with the Log Lady

Catherine E. Coulson from David Lynch’s cult-classic television show Twin Peaks visits PAFA for an evening discussion of Lynch’s creative methods and a screening of her three favorite episodes from the show. November 29, PAFA, 118 North Broad Street

David Lynch: The Unified Field
When: September 13, 2014-January 11, 2015
Where: Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118 North Broad Street
Cost: Included with general admission
More info:

See the bizarre teaser video David Lynch created for the PAFA exhibition below.

Exhibition Teaser Video



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