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Let's Connect: Philly's Artists Take on the Barnes

May 21 – June 4, 2018

About the Exhibition

Let’s Connect: Philly’s Artists Take on the Barnes challenged the city’s artists to create a work of their own in response to a single work of art in the Barnes collection. More than 300 artists submitted work for consideration. Their submissions were presented in an exhibition at the Barnes, and the public and a team of curators voted for artists to receive an on-site residency at the Mural Arts Studio at the Barnes.

About the Project

Albert Barnes taught people to look at works of art primarily in terms of their visual relationships. In arranging his collection, he ignored historical periods and cultural origins—the standard categories of museum display—instead mixing together works of art from different time periods, cultures, and media based solely on the formal analogies they shared. Let’s Connect challenged Philadelphia’s artists, community, and curators to respond to this methodology.

The project began in March 2018 with an open call inviting Philadelphia’s artists to select a work of art in the Barnes collection to use as a departure point for creating their own work for submission. The artists' submissions appeared at the Barnes in an exhibition running May 21–June 4, and the public and a team of curators voted for artists to be invited for on-site residencies in the Mural Arts Studio at the Barnes. During their three-month residencies, artists held open studio hours to connect to the public.

Let’s Connect was a collaboration between the Barnes Foundation and Mural Arts Philadelphia. The project was organized by Shelley Bernstein, Deputy Director of Audience Engagement and Chief Experience Officer at the Barnes Foundation.

The Selected Artists

Maryann Held

Held is a Philadelphia-based children's book illustrator who has been working professionally for over ten years. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Held attended the University of the Arts. After living in Brooklyn for several years, Maryann returned to Philadelphia to work as assistant illustrator for the Berenstain Bears. Held now works full-time as a freelance illustrator, where she pursues her passion for classic children's illustration.

Eric Goldberg

Goldberg was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He studied at Parsons School of Design, the New School for Social Research, New York University, and New Mexico University. He taught painting, printmaking, and drawing at colleges and universities for over 30 years. Goldberg's prints and paintings have been extensively exhibited in the US and abroad. His work is held by many private, corporate, and public collections.

Leroy Johnson

Johnson is a mixed-media artist whose work takes the form of painting, collage, and assemblage sculpture. Johnson is a native of Philadelphia, and his work is poetic and reflective of his many experiences in the inner city. Johnson has exhibited widely, with past solo shows at Philadelphia's Magic Gardens; Tirza Yalon Kolton Ceramic Gallery in Tel Aviv; Gloucester County College in Sewell, New Jersey; and the Camden County Historical Society.

Delia King

King is a reverse glass painter and muralist living in Southwest Philadelphia. She attended St. John's College in Santa Fe and holds a BA in the humanities from Thomas Edison State College in Trenton. Her art background is in experience and practice.

Jonathan D. Pinkett

Jonathan D. Pinkett studied filmmaking at the Philadelphia College of Art before enrolling at Grand Central Atelier in New York to practice drawing and painting. A realist painter, he is influenced by the old masters, whose techniques are less common in contemporary art. His work is an effort to preserve the tradition. During his residency here, Pinkett will work on life-size portraits, primarily using sitting models. Most of his subjects are his friends.