Via The New York Times, March 23, 2023
It’s just a few blocks on Arch Street between the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the oldest art school and museum in the United States, and the African American Museum in Philadelphia, founded in 1976 to celebrate the achievements of African Americans from pre-colonial times to the current day. Yet rarely have visitors at one museum made the walk to the other. “How do we create this corridor between us?” posed Dejay Duckett, vice president of curatorial services at AAMP.
Now, an unusual collaborative exhibition has opened at the two institutions; together they commissioned 20 artists — including Alison Saar, Hank Willis Thomas, Wilmer Wilson IV and Dread Scott — to make new work and bring a multitude of perspectives to the knotty question Benjamin Franklin reportedly pondered in 1787, as the Constitution was being written: Was the sun rising or setting on American democracy?
“Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America,” on view through Oct. 8, was conceived during Donald J. Trump’s tumultuous presidency by Jodi Throckmorton, then curator of contemporary art at the academy known as PAFA, in partnership with Duckett. They started conversations with artists in early 2020 that gestated throughout the pandemic lockdown, the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd that reignited a nationwide racial justice movement, and the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol, all buffeting the show’s central query.