Multiple Alumni Featured in PMA Exhibit

June 17, 2021

The first exhibit on view in the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s new Daniel W. Dietrich II Galleries is New Grit: Art & Philly Now, which features 25 artists whose work represents a wide range of perspectives, practices and various media including ceramics, painting, photography, sculpture, fiber and more. New Grit embodies Philadelphia’s artists, artistic culture and “grit.” 

Director of Craft and Material Studies Mi-Kyoung Lee, whose piece “Thread Drawing 2015-5” is shown in the exhibit, said, “[New Grit] is a huge celebration of the PMA and the city of Philadelphia.” This exhibition highlights contemporary artists who either live in Philadelphia or have close ties to the city. Lee continued, “I have heard nothing but positive reviews of the exhibit.”

In addition to Lee, Doug Bucci BFA ’94 (Crafts), Jonathan Lyndon Chase BFA ’13 (Painting), Alex Da Corte BFA ’04 (Printmaking), Eileen Neff BFA ’72 (Painting), Hiro Sakaguchi BFA ’93 (Painting) and adjunct faculty member Judith Schaechter are featured in the show, which was planned over a three-year period and postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

When asked how it felt to be part of an in-person exhibit after a year of experiencing art virtually, Lee said, “It feels so great that we are slowly getting back to normal, and that this exhibition is on view in-person. It was originally planned for last year, and I am so glad that we waited until this spring to feature in person.” Many works in the show highlight themes such as Black Lives Matter, immigration, and incarceration and re-entry, with additional works that explore memory, environmental issues, technology and more.

Burning window by Alex Da Corte
"Burning window," 2020, by Alex Da Corte.
Neon, vinyl siding, laminate, plywood, house paint, ​​​foam, velvet, hardware.
72 x 72 x 6 inches.
​​Image courtesy of the artist, Matthew Marks Gallery, Sadie Coles HQ, London.

Visitors of the exhibit can peer inside Da Corte’s “Burning window,” a 6-foot by 6-foot replica of a window, featuring vinyl siding, house paint and neon imagery of flames inside the opening. Sakaguchi’s painting “Vapor Trail of Debris” depicts a plane leaving a trail of cars, toys and other items as a person looks on, reflecting the environmental issues and themes often seen in Sakaguchi’s work.
Earlier this month, Lee was invited to speak during a virtual artist meet-and-greet moderated by Dilys Blum, senior curator of Costumes and Textiles at the PMA. Lee discussed her artistic practice, experience teaching, and collaborations and connections with the international community. Lee says, “I grew so much by teaching at UArts for 18 years and through my collaborations with other program colleagues, organizations and communities. It was wonderful looking back on the great moments of experiences from the past.”
New Grit: Art & Philly Now is on view through Aug. 22.