The Philadelphia Museum of Art
presents today Skyscrapers: Prints, Drawings, and Photographs of the Early Twentieth Century, on view through November 1, 2009. Icons of modernity and testaments to human achievement, skyscrapers rose to towering heights in major cities across the United States during the early decades of the twentieth century. These technological feats of architecture and design furnished necessary solutions to the problems set by rapid urban growth while simultaneously providing exciting new material for artists. Skyscrapers offered the contemporary artist a way to document a citys development, a pretext for experimenting with modernist aesthetics, and a subject on which to project personal or collective ideas and emotions.
More than fifty prints, drawings, and photographs chosen from the Museums collection demonstrate the many ways artists chose to portray the new giants in their landscape. Roughly spanning the years between 1905 and 1940, the works will reflect a wide range of styles and practices. Among the famous skyscrapers featured are Chicagos gothic-ornamented Tribune Tower, New York Citys Art Deco Empire State Building, and Philadelphias modernist PSFS Building. The exhibition includes prints by John Marin and Charles Sheeler, photographs by Berenice Abbott and Alfred Stieglitz, and drawings by Earl Horter and Abraham Walkowitz.
Curators: John Vick The Margaret R. Mainwaring Curatorial Fellow in the Department of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs.