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Contemporary art and political presentation are the highlights of new exhibits in Philadelphia this month. Check out our guide of the new collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Barnes Foundation, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art.

EMBRACING THE CONTEMPORARY: THE KEITH L. AND KATHERINE SACHS COLLECTION

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Image via  brandnewgallery

OPEN: June 28th – September 5th, 2016
LOCATION: Philadelphia Museum of Art
ART BIT: Ori Gersht’s Blow Up: Untitled 2 is an intriguing reconstruction of still life compositions like flowers and fruit, as well as a sublime moment of deconstruction when the artist blows up the pieces.

One of the nation’s premier collections of contemporary art has opened in Philadelphia. Philly natives Keith and Katherine Sachs have curated a collection that features prominent European and American artists and works spanning the past half a century. One hundred dazzling pieces feature some of the finest artwork of Jasper Johns, Howard Hodgkin, Ellsworth Kelly, and more who have challenged ideas about art, life, and beauty. Visitors can stroll the galleries and soak in striking white fiberglass statues, colorful postcards, and personal letters from a compelling exhibition of thought-provoking contemporary exhibition.

NARDI WARD: SUN SPLASHED

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OPEN: June 24th – August 22nd, 2016
LOCATION: The Barnes Foundation
ART BIT: Iron Heavens, with it’s swirling pattern of metal squares and rods, may be the most recognizable piece in the collection, but phrases like “We The People” created from shoelaces may be the most interesting to look at.

Sun Splashed is a survey of the works of Nari Ward, featuring his quirky found-object assemblages. The collection embraces flânerie, the detached observation of street life that came with the rise of modern cities in the 19th Century, as well as African tribal art. Ward’s imagination unfolds across a variety of pieces and subjects, including black culture, power and politics, and the identity of the Caribbean diaspora. His hands-on, sprawling installations are mostly contemporary and politically disruptive, and his use of materials gathered in urban locales challenges conceptions of what is familiar.

HAPPINESS, LIBERTY, LIFE? AMERICAN ART AND POLITICS

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OPEN: June 30th – September 18th, 2016
LOCATION: Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
ART BIT: Newly-restored, towering, cartoon-ish cardboard statues of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin are a fun and peculiarly humorous take on the founding fathers

Philadelphia holds an important place in American history, and remains a center for political events and culture. Just in time for the Democratic National Convention, Happiness, Liberty, Life? American Art and Politics continues that tradition and explores artistic representations of American art and politics from the 1700’s to today. The pieces capture a number of themes including: humor, protest, and portraits of government happenings. Icons and popular issues take the forefront, with works by Roy Lichtenstein, Julius Bloch, Rembrandt Peale, and more. Over 25 representations of George and Martha Washington compose the “Wall of Washington,” in addition to paintings and statues of other various political giants and milestones highlight that tongue-in-cheek examination of politics of representation.