As the autumn leaves begin to fall around us and Philadelphia’s air is full of crisp possibilities, something very special is happening in the Perelman Building at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “Philadelphia Assembled,” the cumulative exhibition of a project over three years in the making and initiated by Dutch artist Jeanne van Heeswijk, does not seek to tell the viewer what to think, but rather probes questions that people like myself--a lifelong Philadelphian--sometimes do not ask ourselves.
...all stemming from the hearth, the central meeting place in non-linear space time; the fireplace ‘round which the Move family gathered. As in real life, the event was full of complexities. The heart has many ventricles, but the blood moves everywhere the body will allow.
Sharon Wiggins was 43 at the time of this 1992 recording. She recalls her grandmother’s memory of the Ku Klux Klan. Her grandmother, who raised her, died when Wiggins was 14. Wiggins was homeless in a Pittsburgh ghetto before she committed her crime at the age of 16.
At this, the Autumn Equinox, day & night are of equal length. After a season of triumphant (but slowly diminishing) sunlight, our hours of light and of dark are matched, as the balance tips in favor of the night -- all across the Northern Hemisphere.
Philadelphia Assembled is the process of over a hundred people putting their creative inputs into an ecosystem of programming. It would never - could never - be just one thing. The Art Museum and its staff have done a heroic job of wrangling everything together through the forms of a mural, exhibition spaces, and programming in the Perelman Building.
For my contribution the day of the PHLA Opening Celebration at the Perelman Building, I hosted a world-building workshop. The workshop consisted of a changing crew of about six people as folks walked back and forth through the exhibit, some leaving partway through, and some joining partway through, talking about the future and how to meet its challenges by imagining it through the lens of creating art.