From July through December 1998, the Philadelphia Museum of Art will present exhibitions of works of art from dramatically different creative environments--from 19th-century France to modern Mexico to contemporary Philadelphia. Since 1991, Wednesday Nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art have offered an eclectic mix of films, music, performance, tours, demonstrations and food celebrating the Museum's special exhibitions and permanent collections. Needless to say, upcoming Wednesday Nights will be among the most inventive and diverse ever!
Images of the Spirit: Photographs by Graciela Iturbide (June 14-August 9), an exhibition of some 80 images imbued with the religious and cultural traditions of Mexico, will be celebrated with "Noche Mexicana" on July 15. Presented in conjunction with the Mexican Cultural Center, "Noche Mexicana" will include a showing of the film El Mariachi (1993), Andean music and regional dance presented by Katari with Hueyecoyotl, Mariachi music, a Mexican beer tasting, and a tour of Images of the Spirit led by Kathleen Brown, Curatorial Intern in the Museum's Department of Prints Drawings and Photographs.
As a complement to the exhibition Twenty Philadelphia Artists: Celebrating Fleisher Challenge at 20 (July 18-September 13), "Local Heroes," the theme for August 12, will showcase the remarkable wealth of Philadelphia's homegrown talent. In cooperation with the Painted Bride Art Center, the evening will feature performance poet Ursula Rucker, contemporary dance with Headlong Dance Camp, ensemble hip-hop dancing by Shaftway, and the Spoken Hand Society's Samba Nossa. Exhibiting artist Stephen Talasnik will offer an insider's view of Twenty Philadelphia Artists (please note: a different exhibiting artist will host a tour or discussion every Wednesday Night from July 22 through September 9). Local hero Will Smith will star in the film 6 Degrees of Separation (1993). On the menu are more local favorites: an ice cream tasting courtesy of Philadelphia's own Alaska Ice Cream, coffee tasting presented by New Harmony Coffee Roasters, and a Chef's Special serving of Philly cheese steaks and hoagies.
Marking the bicentennial of the great French painter's birth, the special exhibition Delacroix: The Late Work will present some 70 paintings and 40 works of art on paper that convey Eugène Delacroix's lasting legacy. "Delacroix in North Africa," the theme for October 21, will explore the artist's visit to the exotic lands that sparked his imagination throughout his life. North African folk and classical music and dance will be performed by Joseph Tayoun, Roger Mgrdichian and The Habiba Dance Ensemble, Border's Books & Music, Bryn Mawr, will host "Morocco: From Exotic Bazaars to Mountain Villages," presented by Stanley C. Diamond, Ed.D. "North African Art: From Floor to Ceiling" will be the topic of a gallery talk led by Diane Horn, Museum Teacher.
Great exhibitions aside, all of the world is on stage on Wednesday Nights, with "Spirit of Korea" on July 8; "India International " on August 5; "Celtic Journey" on August 19; "Where the Sun Rises" (a night of Japanese art and culture) on August 26; "Rive Gauche" on September 9; "Masterpiece Theater" (with Britannia ruling) on September 23; " Noche Latino Americana" on September 30; "Treasures of Eastern Europe" on October 14; "A Night in Rio" on December 2; and, finally, "Happy New Year Cajun Style" on December 30.
But Wednesday Nights are not limited to fascinating looks at distant locales. Sharing the spotlight are music, dance, art and design. A very special Wednesday Night will take place on July 22, when the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire "Revives the Renaissance." On hand will be Faire actors presenting a ribald look at the lineage of Queen Elizabeth I, and Faire musicians playing Irish and Celtic folk music while encouraging the audience to step lively. 1990's Hamlet will be the featured film, and the Chef's Special will feature some favorites of King Henry VIII: roast turkey drumsticks and smashed potatoes.
Wednesday Nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art are funded in part by the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation. Programs are also made possible through the generous support and contributions of many sponsors and vendors. This season, the Museum thanks Borders Books & Music, Bryn Mawr; Philadelphia Weekly; Temple University Public Radio; WHYY TV and Radio; WYBE TV, Channel 35; and the Friends of the Japanese House and Garden. Participating vendors are Alaska Ice Cream; A. Origlio, Inc.; New Harmony Coffee Roasters; Guinness Import Co.; Spirits of Valley Forge; Brasserie Perrier; The Court and The Plaza at King of Prussia; Flying Fish Brewing Co.; Margolis/Southern Wines & Spirits, Ltd.; and Henry Ortlieb Brewing Co.
Wednesday Nights at the Philadelphia Museum of Art begin at 5:00 and continue to 8:45 p.m. Gallery Talks are given at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m., and films are shown at 7:10 p.m. Admission to the Museum is $8 for adults and $5 for children age 5 to 17, students with valid I.D., and senior citizens age 62 and over. All programs are free after Museum admission (unless otherwise noted). Call (215) 684-7860 for information, and (215) 684-7506 for a free brochure.
The Philadelphia Museum of Art thanks Philadelphia Weekly for its advertising support.