Fall Arts Preview: Opera Philadelphia World Premiere, Ann Hamilton at The Fabric Workshop, Jace Clayton at the Barnes, and More

1/5: Raúl de Nieves and gage of the boone, XPRM/E/N/TAL, 2016, performance, video and environmental installations, MoMA P.S.1, New York. Photo by Walter Wlodarczyk, courtesy of the artists.
2/5: Hank Willis Thomas, Strawberry Mansion, 2011, installation view, Studio Museum in Harlem. Courtesy of Hank Willis Thomas and Wyatt Gallery.
3/5: Photo by Dominic M. Mercier, Courtesy of Opera Philadelphia.
4/5: Ann Hamilton, habitus, 2016, prototype installation at Municipal Pier 9. Made in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Photo by Lonnie Graham.
5/5: Photo by Ben Tran.

Fall begins with a lively schedule of Center-funded projects, including ambitious artistic collaborations, performance premieres, exhibition openings, and experimental installations that push the boundaries of genre and form. See our highlights below, and visit our events page for a full calendar of projects and programs coming this season.

Hank Willis Thomas, Strawberry Mansion, 2011, installation view, Studio Museum in Harlem. Courtesy of Hank Willis Thomas and Wyatt Gallery.

Artistic Collaborations

The Block
September 8—November 26

The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center’s (PPAC) 15-month engagement and exhibition series, Hank Willis Thomas: Philly Block Project, will culminate in an installation created by conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas in collaboration with a group of photographers, who together will create floor-to-ceiling photographs that reveal the various perspectives found within a 2-block radius of Philadelphia’s South Kensington neighborhood. PPAC will also host an outdoor arts carnival as part of the project on September 10 at the Meadows Arts Park.

Raphstravaganza
September 10

Street performers, BMX riders, acrobats, and musicians will come together for a day of circus-style performances presented by Pew Fellow and hip-hop artist Raphael Xavier. Taking place in the courtyard of Philadelphia’s City Hall, the performances will pay tribute to the soul of the city, inviting discovery of urban street dance and movement.

Endless Shout
September 14—March 19

The Institute of Contemporary Art will embark on an interdisciplinary, multi-artist project examining the role of performance in museum spaces. Over the course of six months, six artists will collaborate on an experimental series of dance, music, poetry, multi-media installations, and interactive programs.

The Philadelphia Embassy of the Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland: Inaugural Event
October 14-15

Composer and performer Mike Bullock will present the inauguration of the Philadelphia Embassy of the international art project, The Kingdoms of Elgaland-Vargaland (KREV). Visitors will have an opportunity to apply for KREV “citizenship,” while taking in electronic music performances and an exhibition of KREV videos and ephemera.

Photo by Dominic M. Mercier, Courtesy of Opera Philadelphia.

Works Re-Interpreted

Room 21
September 9

Composer Jace Clayton will debut his new album-length work informed by the artworks of The Barnes Foundation and Albert Barnes’ extensive record collection. The performance, curated by Lee Tusman, will feature a 20-piece musical ensemble and original costumes handcrafted by fashion designer Rocio Salceda.

Breaking the Waves
September 22—October 1

Opera Philadelphia will debut a new chamber opera inspired by Lars von Trier’s 1996 film Breaking the Waves. Created by composer-in-residence Missy Mazzoli and librettist Royce Vavrek, the opera tells the complex, harrowing tale of a naive newlywed who has chosen to marry outside of her strict Calvinist community in coastal Scotland.

Macbeth
September 24—25

FringeArts will present South African theater artist Brett Bailey’s adaptation of Verdi’s opera Macbeth. Set in the Democratic Republic of Congo and featuring a South African cast, the production examines post-colonial central Africa through an imaginative appropriation of Shakespeare’s tale. In conjunction with this presentation, FringeArts will present Le Cargo, a dance work by Congolese choreographer Faustin Linyekula, on September 24.

Reopening of South Asian Galleries
October 2

The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s fully reinterpreted and reinstalled South Asian art galleries will reopen to the public in October, offering visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in diverse cultures of the past and present through vivid storytelling, powerful images, and digital interactives.

The Musical World of Don Quixote
October 8—9

Piffaro, The Renaissance Band will debut a new bi-lingual music and movement performance that will offer audiences a distinctive interpretation of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote, combining narrative elements and ballads drawn from the novel.

Ann Hamilton, habitus, 2016, prototype installation at Municipal Pier 9. Made in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. Photo by Lonnie Graham.

Artists at the Forefront

Ann Hamilton: habitus
September 6—January 8

The Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) will present a multi-venue exhibition by MacArthur Fellow and visual artist Ann Hamilton exploring how we use, live with, and experience fabrics in our daily lives. On view in two distinct venues—the galleries of FWM and Municipal Pier 9 on the Delaware River waterfront—habitus weaves text, textile, and image together as mediums for an imaginative and tactile exchange between artist and audience.

Levée des conflits
September 9—10

Drexel University’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design will present French choreographer Boris Charmatz’s experimental dance piece Levée des conflits, a work for 24 dancers based on 25 repetitive movements that unfold over time. The performances will be accompanied by a series of panel discussions and community workshops.

1734–1735: A Season in the Life of J.S. Bach: Trinity Season
October 5—26

Trinity Season will commence Choral Arts Philadelphia’s three-part concert series, which recreates rarely-performed cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach, performed in an arc spanning the Christian church calendar and secular seasons.

Photo by Ben Tran.

Exploring Personal Histories

Composing the Tinnitus Suites: 2016
September 23—October 16

Inspired by his personal experiences with tinnitus, sound artist Daniel Fishkin will present a collaborative performance series and electroacoustic insulation anchored by the Lady’s Harp—Fishkin’s handcrafted 20-foot long instrument consisting of piano strings, amplifiers, and a mixer.

portrait of myself as my father
September 23—24

Zimbabwean dancer Nora Chipaumire will explore themes of masculinity, Africa, and the body in her dance work, portrait of myself as my father, presented as part of the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Center-supported Creative Africa programming.

SaltSoul
October 6—8

In a new multimedia dance work, choreographer Jungwoong Kim will examine the universality of sudden loss and trauma, drawing on his personal experiences of losing a family member as a child, as well as two public disasters in South Korea and Philadelphia.


The Philadelphia Singers collaborated with new music ensembles Relâche and Orchestra 2001, in a program featuring a world premiere by Philip Glass and a Philadelphia premiere by Steve Reich.

Asian Arts Initiative’s project to revitalize Pearl Street, an under-used alley behind its building in Philadelphia’s Chinatown North neighborhood, is featured in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Questions of Practice

Electronic Music 2012, presented by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage on December 13, 2012, investigated the evolving American electronic musical experience and how it relates now to cultural expectations.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Composer Julia Wolfe, whose music is inspired by the folk, classical, and rock genres, is co-founder of New York’s music collective Bang on a Can.

Dolce Suono Ensemble, founded by flutist Mimi Stillman in 2005, presents highly acclaimed chamber music concerts in Philadelphia and on tour.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Since his emergence as a professional jazz saxophonist and composer in the 1950s, Wayne Shorter has earned a reputation as one of the most influential jazz musicians of our time.

Grants & Grantees

One of three contemporary music ensembles in the United States that can scale up to a full chamber orchestra, Orchestra 2001 has presented over 80 world premieres.

South African theater artist Brett Bailey will visit Philadelphia for a three-week residency and a presentation of his adaptation of Verdi’s opera Macbeth, set in the Democratic Republic of Congo, presented in collaboration with Opera Philadelphia.

Letting Go? investigates path-breaking public history practices at a time when the traditional expertise of museums and historical institutions is challenged by evolving trends in technology, programming, oral histories, and contemporary art.

Collaborators & Colleagues

Since 1994, Hamza Walker has served as director of education/associate curator for the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, a non-collecting museum devoted to contemporary art.

A program of Philadelphia University, The Design Center presents exhibitions, tours, programs, college courses, and special events that demonstrate how design shapes everyday life.

Grants & Grantees

A young choreographer who has already produced provocative, experimental dance works, Poe (Pew Fellow, 2011) is the founder of dance/theater company idiosynCrazy productions.