Woodmere Art Museum extends 'Group '55 and Midcentury Modernism in Philadelphia' exhibition

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Woodmere Art Museum extends 'Group '55 and Midcentury Modernism in Philadelphia' exhibition
Sanford Greenberg, No. 24, 1955. Oil on canvas, 14 1/4 x 20 in. (Woodmere Art Museum: Museum purchase, 2014)

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- In 1955, a group of Philadelphia painters, architects, musicians, and dancers organized a series of exhibitions and public forums across the city, presenting their work as a catalyst for vigorous public dialogue about the role of art and science in the postwar era. Group ’55, as they came to be known, included architect Louis Kahn, composer George Rochberg, and artists Quita Brodhead, Michael Ciliberti, Sam Feinstein, Sam Fried, Sanford Greenberg, Raymond Hendler, Jane Piper, and Doris Staffel.

Group ’55 and Midcentury Modernism in Philadelphia, on view through May 9, 2021, includes professionally recorded sessions and historical materials never before made public. Patricia Stark Feinstein, who has overseen the important archive of the group’s work, has organized the exhibition in collaboration with the Museum. Barbara Wolanin, a distinguished art historian whose specialization is American modernism, has contributed the main essay for the accompanying catalogue. A concurrent installation will feature Sam Feinstein’s large-scale, immersive paintings of the 1970s. Titled Sam Feinstein: Immersive Abstraction, the exhibition will be on view through April 11, 2021.

In partnership with Group ’55 and Midcentury Modernism in Philadelphia, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy (SCH) curated Sam Feinstein: The Early Years in the Barbara Crawford Gallery at the school. The exhibition opened on September 24, 2020. Considered a first-generation abstract expressionist artist, Feinstein was well known in art circles. A respected painter, illustrator, filmmaker, and writer Sam Feinstein taught at Chestnut Hill Academy from 1938 to 1942.

The exhibition featured his watercolors, oil paintings, and illustrations from 1930 to the mid-1950s depicting his journey towards abstract expressionism. Feinstein’s film on his friend and artist Hans Hofmann was also featured. This short documentary, One World or None, offers a rare and intimate view of this important artist’s philosophy and practice. The SCH Barbara Crawford exhibition ended on January 24, 2021 and was made possible through the Samuel L. Feinstein Trust.

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