The Philadelphia Museum of Art will be the only East Coast venue for the unprecedented exhibition, “Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392–1910.” More than 150 works, among them national treasures that have never before left Korea, reveal an era that profoundly shaped the culture of Korea in ways that continue to resonate today.
The exhibition is organized around themes that illuminate the artistic accomplishments and dynamics of Korean cultural life under the world’s longest-ruling Confucian dynasty, which saw the succession of 27 monarchs over 518 years. The period is one of deep fascination because it continues to influence modern manners, norms and societal attitudes in a country that has today emerged as one of the world’s most vibrant economies.
The exhibition also sheds light on the external influences that exerted a profound effect on Korea’s culture. These include the adoption of the Chinese writing system in the second century BCE, the spread of Buddhism and the introduction of Confucian values that would impose strict moral codes and standards. As the founding philosophy of the Joseon dynasty, Confucianism provides a unifying perspective for the artistic styles that evolved over time. The exhibition is organized by the National Museum of Korea, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
“This ambitious exhibition enables us to bring together an exceptional range of art produced over a period of 500 years that will offer our audiences many rare surprises,” said Timothy Rub, The George D. Widener director and CEO of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. “We are pleased to have organized this exhibition in partnership with the National Museum of Korea, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, expanding on an initiative that began with an earlier survey of American art presented in Korea. The exhibition will be an eye-opener for many Americans and an opportunity for the vibrant Korean and Korean-American communities in Philadelphia and beyond to discover fresh connections with their cultural heritage.”
The exhibition comprises works drawn primarily from the collection of the National Museum of Korea, supplemented by loans from public and private collections in Korea and the United States. “In our ongoing quest to promote world history and culture, we are very pleased to be able to share the treasures of our heritage with American audiences, in the same way that the Korean public gained a better understanding of the art of the United States through the exhibition ‘Art Across America,’” said Kim Youngna, director-general, National Museum of Korea. “We are delighted to take part in this important cultural collaboration between Korea and the United States.”
“Treasures from Korea: Arts and Culture of the Joseon Dynasty, 1392-1910,” is on view March 2–May 26 in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Dorrance Galleries. For general information, call 215-763-8100 or visit philamuseum.org.
How has one of America’s oldest agricultural crafts evolved from a quaint enterprise with “sugar parties” and the delicacy “sugar on snow” to a modern industry? In “The Sugar Season: A Year in the Life of Maple Syrup, and One Family’s Quest for the Sweetest Harvest” (Da Capo Press, Print: $24.99; Kindle: $13.99), Douglas Whynott follows a maple syrup entrepreneur through one tumultuous season, taking readers deep into the sugarbush, where sunlight and sap are intimately related.
Along the way,Whynott reveals the inner workings of the multimillion dollar maple sugar industry. Make no mistake, it’s big business — complete with a Maple Hall of Fame, a black market, a major syrup heist monitored by Homeland Security, a Canadian organization called ‘The Federation’ and a global strategic reserve that’s comparable to OPEC (fitting, since a barrel of maple syrup is worth more than a barrel of oil).
Whynott is the critically acclaimed author of four nonfiction books, and has taught writing and literature at the University of Massachusetts, Mount Holyoke College and Columbia University. He is currently an associate professor of writing in the Writing, Literature and Publishing Program at Emerson College, where he served as director of the MFA program from 2002-2009. He received a Fulbright Fellowship to teach at the University of the Andes, Bogota, Colombia in the spring of 2013.
“I have been writing nonfiction for 25 years or so,” explained Whynott, an 11th-generation Cape Codder. “I got an undergraduate degree in journalism at University of Massachusetts and a graduate degree in creative writing, and my goal was to combine the techniques of fiction writing with the techniques of journalism, recording and writing nonfiction — and that’s what I’ve done. When I was a graduate student in the MFA program studying fiction there were no nonfiction programs. But, when I was in graduate school, I decided that someday, if I could, I would teach in an MFA program and develop a non-fiction track. And that’s what I did.”
In addition to his writing and teaching,Whynott has been at different times a concert piano tuner, a dolphin trainer, a commercial fisherman and a boogie-woogie pianist.
The Penn Museum’s latest exhibition, “Native American Voices: The People — Here and Now,” will challenge visitors to set aside their preconceptions about Native Americans and discover a living tapestry of nations with distinct stories, identities and contemporary leaders. The launch of “Native American Voices” will mark the beginning of the exhibition’s five-year journey at the Museum, during which nearly 300 objects representing more than 100 tribes will be rotated on display.
“We know the objects in the Penn Museum’s collection are extraordinary as documents of different communities, times, and places in history — but we also wanted our collection to speak to the ongoing concerns and changing traditions of the people whose ancestors made them and first imbued them with meaning,” says Lucy Fowler Williams, exhibition curator and senior keeper of the Penn Museum’s American Section.
The Lenapes were also known as the Delaware Indians, and acquired this name from the English colonists of the Delaware River Valley. Captain Samuel Argall is credited with being the first European to discover a large bay of water in the year 1610. Argall named this large bay of water the “Delaware Bay” in honor of Sir Thomas West, Third Lord de la Warr, who, at that time, was the governor of the colony of Virginia. The name “Delaware” was then used for the river that fed the bay and was also applied to the Lenni Lenape Indians who inhabited the Delaware Valley — the area where the city of Philadelphia was born and now exists. The Lenni Lenape encompassed not just one tribe; it consisted of three groups. In the northern areas of their territory were the Munsee, “the people of the stoney country.” In the middle, or central area where Philadelphia came to be located, was the Unami, or the “people down river.” South of the Unami were the Unalactgio, or the “people near the ocean,” who were also known as the Nanticokes.
While William Penn’s relationship with the indigenous residents forged his ultimate vision of his overall concept of the Pennsylvania colony (and all reports indicate he honored his agreement with the Native Americans), successive leaders disregarded his outreach. Research has revealed that this story has been largely ignored by published texts and the state itself, which does not officially recognize the local Lenape community. In the 18th and 19th centuries, most of the Lenape in Pennsylvania were forcibly removed and pushed further and further west until their final placement on reservations, primarily in Oklahoma or Canada.
“Most history books say there were no Lenape left in Pennsylvania after 1803,” noted Penn Anthropology major Abby Seldin in 2008. “But there were actually Lenape who intermarried with European settlers in the 1700s who remained. They went underground and appeared to assimilate, but they actually maintained their language and their cultural and religious practices.”
For the past 200 years, successive generations of Lenape have been maintaining these practices in secret. However, Seldin explains that in the past two decades, there has been a movement among members of the community to make their existence public. It has been motivated in part by the strong Lenape commitment to the environment and their desire to promote better care of the land. Far from having disappeared into the American “melting pot,” today’s Native Americans are culturally distinct and diverse. Today there are more than 565 federally recognized tribal entities in the United States alone (far more if one counts U.S. tribes that are not federally recognized, and Canadian First Nations).
As with any exhibition, the objects presented in “Native American Voices”— ranging from 11,000-year-old projectile points to contemporary art — shares stories, poetry, and short essays on issues that matter to them today: identity, political sovereignty, religious freedom and sacred places, language, celebrations, art and cultural continuity.
The richly interactive new exhibition features a wide range of contemporary Native American voices — including artists, activists, journalists, scholars and community leaders — from around North America. They speak out in video and in audio. Through a central introductory video, and at dramatic touch screen towers and multimedia stations throughout the gallery, visitors encounter Native American perspectives on key themes.
Native Americans from around the region and across North America will visit the Penn Museum on Saturday from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., to share their art, culture, and perspectives and to celebrate the opening of “Native American Voices: The People — Here and Now.” Native Nations Dance Theater performs in an afternoon that features talks, demonstrations and storytelling by Native American leaders in film and journalism, scholarship, community development, archaeology, sports, language retention and social activism. Mini-workshops, special activities for families, and Native American foods on the Pepper Mill Café menu, round out the day. The Penn Museum is at 3260 South St.
For general information, visit www.penn.museum or call (215) 898-4000.
The National Constitution Center announced this week that it will host “Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello,” a revealing exhibition that follows the stories of six slave families who lived and worked at Thomas Jefferson’s plantation and their descendants who fought for justice and helped bring to light their ancestors’ lives and values. The announcement was planned in conjunction with the Constitution Center’s African American History Month programming.
“As a result of Jefferson’s assiduous record-keeping, augmented by 50 years of modern scholarly research, Monticello is the best-documented, best-preserved, and best-studied plantation in North America,” said Leslie Greene Bowman, president of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, through a provided statement. “Through our partnership, Monticello and NMAAHC (The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture) have created a unique opportunity to discuss slavery as the unresolved issue of the American Revolution and to offer Jefferson and Monticello as a window into the unfulfilled promise of ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.’ We are pleased that the exhibition is now opening at the National Constitution Center, which will provide new opportunities for dialogue about this complex chapter in American history.”
“Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello” is organized by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation at Monticello in partnership with NMAAHC. “Understanding the details of the lives of enslaved people adds to our understanding of history, and our understanding of race relations today. We cannot have a clear view of Jefferson, or the founding of our nation, if we leave slavery out of the story,” Lonnie Bunch, director of the NMAAHC, said in a statement.
The 3,500-square-foot exhibition features over 280 objects.
“This exhibition does an impressive job in the telling of an important and conflicted chapter in the story of ‘We the People,’” said National Constitution Center COO Vince Stango. “Thomas Jefferson was a revered leader and drafter of the Declaration of Independence, yet he was a slaveholder. ‘Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello’ will provide a unique entry point for our visitors who can then tour our main exhibition to follow where the story leaves off, learning more specifically about the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, which were added to the Constitution in an effort to establish equality.”
Visitors also will have an opportunity to view a rare printing of the Declaration of Independence while visiting the Constitution Center, on display in the museum’s main exhibition.
“Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello” will exhibit from April 9 – October 19, and is included in the cost of general admission, which includes the museum’s main exhibition, “The Story of We the People,” the award-winning theatrical production “Freedom Rising” and Signers’ Hall. For ticket information, call (215) 409-6700 or visit www.constitutioncenter.org.
Contact Tribune Staff Writer Bobbi Booker at (215) 893-5749 or email@example.com.
Natural settings, floral arrangements, and gardens have served as subject matter of some of the world’s greatest paintings, prints and sculpture. At the 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show, “ARTiculture,” the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) is partnering with internationally renowned art museums, organizations and institutions for the exhibits.
“The Flower Show is going to be ‘ARTiculture,’ and it’s the celebration of art and horticulture together,” said Drew Becher, PHS president.
Turner’s landscapes. Van Gogh’s sunflowers. Monet’s water lilies. Hiroshige’s cherry blossoms. Warhol’s floral prints. Becher says visitors will appreciate the fine arts theme.
“We’ll be having an amazing exhibit of Andy Warhol photos that haven’t been seen in this country in over a decade,” Becher said. “Currently, it’s on display over in Paris, and it’s all his plants. It’s all his floral pictures that he’s done. It’s really going to be quite impressive.”
This fusion of art and horticulture will span world cultures and art history and will transform the Pennsylvania Convention Center into a 10-acre living canvas. Participants include the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York City), the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery (Washington, D.C.), the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation (Philadelphia), the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (Philadelphia), the Penn Museum (Philadelphia), the Brandywine River Museum (Chadds Ford), the Brooklyn Museum (Brooklyn, N.Y.), the Noguchi Museum (Long Island City, N.Y.), Storm King Art Center (Hudson Valley, N.Y.), Grounds for Sculpture (Hamilton, N.J.), the North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh, N.C.), Fresh Artists (Philadelphia), the Wayne Art Center (Wayne) and the Woodmere Art Museum (Philadelphia).
Proceeds from the Flower Show benefit the year-round programs of PHS, which is celebrating its 186th year of gardening, greening and learning. PHS initiatives include the PHS City Harvest program, which creates green jobs and supports a network of community gardens that raise fresh produce for more than 1,200 families in need each week during the growing season.
The 2014 Philadelphia Flower Show, “ARTiculture,” runs March 1-9, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, 1101 Arch St. The 2014 show will present themed experiences after dark, including the LGBT Party, Wedding Wednesday and Girls Night Out.
In a brand new Flower Show feature, visitors will be able to walk through an interactive and educational butterfly-filled exhibit created by California’s Sky River Butterflies. Admission to “The Butterfly Experience” costs $3 per person, and hours differ from general show hours. For more information, visit www.theflowershow.com.