A busy fall season for Philadelphia artists at Woodmere

by Regina Marie
Posted 10/5/23

With the arrival of the brilliant colors of fall, Woodmere welcomes the season with an abundance of new exhibitions, lectures and more.

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A busy fall season for Philadelphia artists at Woodmere


With the arrival of the brilliant colors of fall, Woodmere welcomes the season with an abundance of new exhibitions, lectures, programs, art classes, and film screenings, along with the ever-loved Friday Night Jazz series and new showings for Tuesday Nights at the Movies.

The art leaps off the walls in the newest exhibition, ‘Barbara Bullock: Fearless Vision.’ Known as one of the most respected artists in Philadelphia, Bullock’s work has been greatly impacted by her extensive travels through Africa and the Caribbean. The exhibit showcases her development over 60 years of creative practice, from the paintings and drawings of the late 1960s and 1970s to the cut, painted, and sculpted works in heavyweight paper she is known for today. 

Woodmere collaborated with independent art historians and curators Leslie King-Hammond and Lowery Stokes Sims in preparing an oral history with Bullock that is transcribed as a central element in the accompanying catalog publication. 

The show is complemented by robust programming, including a gallery talk with Bullock, King-Hammond and Sims on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 2 p.m., along with special art classes, including  one for creating traditional batik and adire textiles, which the museum is offering in partnership with the Mt. Airy Learning Tree on Saturday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. 

There will also be a talk with artist Syd Carpenter and Andrea Packard, director of the Swarthmore College art collection and curator of the List Gallery on Oct. 21 at 2 p.m. 

Woodmere has a longstanding relationship with Carpenter and just recently announced that the museum has been awarded a grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage to support an exhibition of Carpenter’s work in 2026.  This transformative level of funding from the center will be pivotal in bringing national attention to a career-spanning retrospective. More details will be shared at the upcoming film screening of  “Syd Carpenter: Places of Our Own,” on Wednesday, Oct. 11 at 5 p.m. 

\There are also newly acquired works on display through April 7, 2024, with the appropriately titled show, ‘Just In: Recent Acquisitions.’ 

This exhibition comprises important pieces by Philadelphia artists in a variety of media, including painting, sculpture, printmaking, and photography. Also on view are examples of recently acquired jewelry, offering a preview of galleries that will be dedicated to Philadelphia’s metalsmithing and jewelry arts in the museum’s new Frances M. Maguire Hall for Art and Education. 

The Helen Millard Gallery is blooming and buzzing with ‘Pollinator Power!’ that is open through October 29. This immersive installation celebrates the miracle and interdependence of pollination, a system in which flowers and pollinators each provide what the other needs. The artworks were created by a diverse group of artists, ages 6 to 26, working together at Mindy Flexer Art School and Allens Lane Art Center. Just like the work of bees, cooperative action on any scale can impact the challenges caused by the climate change emergency we now face. 

You also don’t want to miss “The Photo Review: Best of Show 2023” closing October 29. This exhibition presents the work of 15 prizewinners of the 2023 International Photography Competition, organized annually by Photo Review, a critical journal of national scope and international readership. The prize winners were chosen by juror Deborah Willis from more than 1,300 entries. Willis’ selections range from classical subjects such as architecture, landscape, and portraiture, to conceptual images and even AI-prompted photographs. Black life, women, beauty, and LGBTQ+ subjects are also well represented.

Not long after the museum rings in the new year, Woodmere will present the work of Philadelphia-based, Venezuela-born artist Henry Bermudez. Opening February 2024, this exhibition will chronicle the artist’s experience since arriving in Philadelphia as an immigrant and seeker of political asylum in 2003. Exhibiting how connections to mythological subjects and visual strategies of his Venezuela-based work remain, the show also reflects how Bermudez’s work has continuously evolved through the rupture of displacement and culture of Philadelphia.

And through mid-November, on Woodmere’s front lawn, the Annual Straw Maze sits for families to enjoy. Built with massive bales of straw, children 4 to 11 accompanied by an adult can explore the zigzag spaces, tunnels, and multilevel views (The maze is free for museum members; $5/child for non-members; $20 for groups of 5).

But, if you are just looking for an enjoyable fall afternoon in nature, you may want to stroll the WOW, Woodmere’s Outdoor Wonder. WOW is an experience of sculpture in the context of nature and the environmental features of the museum's grounds. It includes work by significant artists as well as monumental estate trees of the 19th century, a pollinator garden, rot road, and contemporary stormwater-management features such as a bioswale and step pools, bringing art into conversation with environmental science and horticultural interest. WOW is free and open to the public daily from dawn to dusk.