Category Archives: Fine Art

ARTiculture: Philadelphia Flower Show 2014

by Nicole C. Maloy, W’95

My interest in art has been rather well documented. So, though flowers may be pleasant enough on their own, the Philadelphia Flower Show became doubly appealing thanks to its 2014 theme: “ARTiculture: where art meets horticulture.” What does this mean? It goes a little something like this:

For fans of Piet Mondrian.

And this:

Inspired by Claude Monet’s garden at Giverny.

And that is just a taste. Beyond the fabulous, large displays, which I expected, I encountered something entirely new to me. Did you know that pressed flower art is a thing? I did not, but it turns out there are societies and guilds devoted to it. And I don’t mean pressing a flower and framing it. I mean taking pressed flowers and turning them into something else. A new creation. A work of art. For example:


I truly thought this was a painting at first. Surprise! It’s pressed flowers! If only Soylent Green had been pressed flowers.

I had never seen anything quite like this. Scroll down to see more, and enjoy! For an even better view of these, and all of the fascinating plant life that you would expect from the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society (including herbs, hairy cacti, and yes, FLOWERS EVERYWHERE), get thee to the Philadelphia Convention Center by this Sunday, March 9 and celebrate one of Philadelphia’s most beautiful traditions.

P.S. I bought a bonsai tree at the show! It lives in my office at Penn now, so I have named it BENsai. 🙂

And now for more stunning pressed flower art:





Leave a comment

Filed under Fine Art, Nicole M., Philadelphia

A Year in Review at the Red and the Blue

Author:  Carolyn Grace, C’16

Play this and start reading:

Happy New Year, Quakers!  I hope you all celebrated accordingly 🙂

Since we’re only into the second day of 2014, I don’t believe it’s unreasonable to look back on the many fond memories I had in good ol’ 2013.  However, this is, after all, a Penn blog.   That’s why I’m using this post for My Top 12 Penn Moments of 2013, one for each month.  Enjoy, and try to think of your Top 12 Penn Moments as well!


I get invited to become a member of the Sigma Kappa sorority!  I celebrated my acceptance with my new sisters all through the night, right into my 19th birthday the next morning.  Talk about a great birthday present!

I finally meet my Big!

I finally meet my Big!


Big-Little Week for Sigma Kappa!  (For those who are unfamiliar with the term “Big-Little Week,” click here for more info.)  After a FULL WEEK of anonymously-sent baked goods, gifts, and guys, I discover who my wonderful Big is:  Tara!


Spring Break has arrived at Penn, and what better way to spend it than with my fellow Quakers!  I take a weekend trip to Tenafly, NJ with my good friends Charlotte and Gabby, both of whom I met through the freshman seminar “Katharine Hepburn Films.”  I also travel to New York City with a few members of Counterparts:  Lilly, Scott, and Nina.


Enjoying Fling with some SK girls and Mask & Wig guys!

CP about to take the stage

Ok, so I’m cheating a little bit here.  I have two big moments from April 2013.  The first, of course, is Spring Fling.  I mean, how can I leave that out?  It’s the largest collegiate carnival on the eastern seaboard!  Not to mention, it was my first one.  The second moment:  Time to Shine, of course.  Counterparts was one of the many student groups to perform before the Train and John Legend concert.  What was even cooler was that we were the first group to sing on the same stage as these artists!

8.  MAY

My freshman year at Penn finally comes to a close, but not before I start recording for the new CP album!  In the midst of studying for final exams, we all come in at various times to record various songs from first and second semester.

7.  JUNE

A beautiful day to see the Arc de Triomphe

A beautiful day to see the Arc de Triomphe

Bonjour de la France!  Already having departed in late May,  I am entering my  third week in Tours, France with the Penn-in-Tours summer abroad program.  For six weeks, I study a year’s worth of French at the UniversitĂ© François-Rabelais with about 30 other Penn students.  We all live with host families and go on weekend trips around the Loire Valley, visiting castles, exploring museums, and tasting wine!  After mid-terms, we are given a three-day weekend to travel anywhere in France.  I, along with my friends Rachel, Emily, Fola, and Faith, decide to spend those days roaming the magnificent city of Paris.

6.  JULY

A summer is not complete without a trip to the beach.  In addition to my family’s annual vacation in Strathmere, NJ, I spend a weekend in Wildwood with my good friend, Alexa.  She’s one of the first friends I made at Penn!


BACK. TO. SCHOOL.  After another summer of not tanning at all, I am ready for Sophomore year to begin!  Before NSO even starts, however, I kick off the new school year as a student leader for the PennArts pre-orientation program.  I participated in PennArts as a freshman, and it’s just as fun to experience it again as a leader.  The 50-60 of us explore all the arts that both the Penn and Philadelphia communities have to offer.

The PennArts leaders are ready to welcome the freshmen!


CP welcomes its newest members: David, Emily, Michael, and Andrew!


Date Night?  More like Neuro Night!  A Wharton junior in SK has partnered with the drink company, Neuro, for a class project. As a thank-you for all of her hard work, Neuro brings in manicurists and hair stylists to the SK house to help the girls get ready for our Date Night downtown!

Sarah, Virginia, and I try some Neuro while we wait to get our hair done

Sarah, Virginia, and I try some Neuro while we wait to get our hair done


After weeks and weeks of rehearsal, Counterparts performs its Fall show, “Private ‘Parts.”  I sing a jazz song by Melody Gardot called “Baby, I’m a Fool.”


I am invited to sing at the Mask & Wig Club’s annual Charity Ball!  The band held auditions earlier in the Fall, and several girls (a bunch of them in CP!) were selected to perform.  The guys were extremely fun to rehearse with, and the songs were so much fun!  Of the three events I sang for, Charity Ball was definitely my favorite.  Everyone dresses up in gowns and tuxedos for a night of great food, dancing, and music.  What a classy way to close out the year!

Me and my date, Luke

Me and my date, Luke

And there you have it, 2013 through the eyes of a Penn Quaker.  I hope 2014 brings just as many great moments like these, maybe even more!  Enjoy the new year, Quakers 🙂

Leave a comment

Filed under Campus Life, Carolyn G., Clubs, Fine Art, Making History, Memories of Penn, Penn in the Summer, Penn Park, Philadelphia, Photos, Student Perspective, The Arts, The Arts at Penn, Traditions, Travel, Uncategorized, Video, Videos

Theater Scene

Author: Noelle McManus, C’17

As most of you may know, I am highly involved in the theater community at Penn. However, what you may not know is that I recently was given an opportunity to continue with iNtuitons, who just finished Midsummer Night’s Dream, on their general board for next semester. This means that I will be able to shadow older board members in order to find out what each position is like, take part in the choosing of the show we will put on next semester, and work on the show. I am so excited to get started because I am very interested in continuing with the theater scene at Penn.

The other group that I am currently working with is Stimulus Children’s Theater, which has just celebrated Stim Day! Stim Day was November 17th, and it is a day that the entire production team (cast, crew, and board) comes together in the PAC shop and finishes the last little things that need to get done before the show! It was really fun and I got to do 3 of my favorite things: paint, eat pizza, and eat cake!

This upcoming weekend and week are bound to be exciting as well. My first birthday as a college student is this weekend! Also, my college house is hosting a Thanksgiving Food Drive Gala on Sunday! Tuesday night marks the beginning of my first Thanksgiving Break and I’m so excited to see my family again.

Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Leave a comment

Filed under Campus Life, Fine Art, Student Perspective, The Arts, The Arts at Penn

Who Knew? The Pastel Society of America

By Nicole C. Maloy, W’95

Who knew there was a Pastel Society of America? Well, I knew. But to some, it is surprising to hear of an organization that is dedicated completely to the art medium of soft pastel. Then again, I’m sure all of you can think of organizations and societies that support the passions/interests/hobbies that make up your own extra-curricular lives, or those of your loved ones. Through my Mom, for example, I have learned that there are societies and conferences just for quilters. Why shouldn’t I have my own group of enablers?

One of my favorite pieces in the show was this, "Jami Swimming II," by Adrian Frankel Giuliani. Check out her work at [].

One of my favorite pieces in the 2013 PSA exhibition was this, “Jami Swimming II,” by Adrian Frankel Giuliani. Check out her work at

I was probably in high school when I first tried out these dusty jewels, and loved them right away. Over the past year or so, as I have decided to pursue my interest in art with a bit more fervor, I have learned about an eye-popping array of professional artist quality pastels and surfaces. Compared to the student quality versions, using these is like stepping into a new universe. I am fortunate, therefore, to know where to turn to learn more about what these gorgeous things can do. Hooray that there is an organization that showcases the very best pastel artists in the country. After gazing at work by some of these pros online, in magazines (like The Pastel Journal, of course), and in my collection of their own educational DVDs, it was tremendously exciting for me to see the work of their hands in person last month in New York at The Pastel Society of America’s 41st Annual Exhibition: Enduring Brilliance. I even met the President of the Society, as well as some of the artists (including Adrian Frankel Guiliani, whose work is featured above). All were friendly and gracious, and I look forward to seeing them again next year.

Here’s a tidbit for ya: these pastel paintings (yup, they’re referred to as paintings!) won’t darken, yellow, or crack over time like oil paintings will because soft pastels are almost pure pigment – the same pigments as in oil paints – bound into sticks instead of suspended in oil. Don’t get me wrong – oil paint is an incredible medium. And an oil painting, once dry, cannot be smudged like a pastel painting can. But when protected and properly cared for, pastel paintings look incredibly fresh and vivid compared with oil paintings from the same time period, which need to be restored. Look for works in pastel on your next art museum visit and you’ll see for yourself.

"Racehorses in a Landscape" - Edgar Degas, 1894, pastel on paper. On display at Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, Spain.

“Racehorses in a Landscape” – Edgar Degas, 1894, pastel on paper. On display at Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, Spain.

So, what do you love to do, see, hear, eat, learn about, visit, or otherwise experience? Maybe there’s a society for it. Take a moment to find out. Meanwhile, take a look at the pastel paintings that were singled out for honors at the 2013 PSA exhibition, and watch for the next one in 2014. Enjoy!

1 Comment

Filed under Fine Art, Nicole M.

Calling all Artsits, Artisans, and Crafters

Author: Sandra Scutt, W’86

All alumni are invited to participate in the annual Penn Alumni Arts Fair to be held on Saturday, November 9 from 10 AM until 5 PM during Homecoming Weekend.  We welcome any medium–from paintings, to sculpture, to crafts or drawings. Although this is not a juried show, vendors include high-caliber professional artists as well as those whose work is a passionate avocation.

This is the fifth year that Penn is celebrating Homecoming Weekend featuring Arts & Culture.  We would love to have our largest group of artists to date!

Not sure if this fair is a fit for you? View images submitted for previous fairs in 2009   and  2010 and see photos from the 2011 and 2012 Arts Fairs.

Register online today! Tables, linens, and lunch will be provided for participants; the booth fee is $30, and there is no commission taken.

We hope you can join us! Have questions? Contact Sandra at or 215.746.3239.



Leave a comment

Filed under Alumni Perspective, Fine Art, Homecoming Weekend featuring arts and culture, Sandra

The Year of Sound

Author: Lisa Marie Patzer

Each year, Penn’s Provost office sponsors a series of events around a theme chosen by faculty, staff and students.  The theme for 2013-2014 is the Year of Sound, a topic that can be further explored by nearly every area of academic study.  In conjunction with the yearly theme, a book is chosen for the Penn Reading Project (PRP), an initiative designed to introduce incoming freshmen to academic life at Penn.  Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop by Adam Bradley will be the text for the 2013-14 (PRP).


As a film student and visual artist, I have a keen interest in the pairing of moving image with sound.  As David Lynch said, “Films are 50 percent visual and 50 percent sound. Sometimes sound even overplays the visual.” The influence of sound design in film is perhaps one of the more common examples of how auditory experience impacts our understanding of things.

Less well-known is the use of sound in works by artists and avant-garde composers such as John Cage  (September 5, 1912 – August 12, 1992). Cage wrote music for film and also modern dance performances but his most notable works were those that dealt with chance and sound.  In 1952, Cage composed the piece that became his best-known and most controversial creation: 4′33″.


The score instructs the performer not to play the instrument during the entire duration of the piece—four minutes, thirty-three seconds—and is meant to be perceived as consisting of the sounds of the environment that the listeners hear while it is performed.  Highly controversial at the time of Cage’s original performance, 4′33″ has since become a hallmark of the avant-garde and has been performed worldwide.

The Slought Foundation, located at 4017 Walnut Street, showcases a unique interactive installation by Cage. In 2010, with the help of the John Cage Trust, The Slought Foundation installed  “How to get Started”, featuring a rarely heard performance by the artist.  The visitor listens to a monologue by Cage and is then invited to contribute to the installation by recording their own “realizations”.  This site provides instructions for how to prepare:

1. familiarize yourself with Cage’s realization

2. get out ten index cards and write down ten topics of interest

3. practice extemporizing on each topic, in random order

4. notice that Cage never spoke for more than three minutes on a single topic

5. visit Slought Foundation and schedule a session

The topic of sound can be explored in many interesting ways and I look forward to the programming for this year.  Visit here to find out more about the Year of Sound and how you can get involved.

Leave a comment

Filed under Film, Fine Art, Lisa Marie Patzer, The Arts, The Arts at Penn, Uncategorized

The Penn Museum and Metropolitan Museum of Art Exchange Prisoners

Author: Alex Fleischman, C’14

His stone face was larger than I’d imagined. His body lay flatter against the ground, and his pose and expression seemed more somber.

That was my first impression of the bowing prisoner as I stood before him today in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Upon arriving at the museum, I sought out this object in “The Dawn of Egyptian Art,” a special exhibition open until August 5, although he doesn’t normally reside in the Met, but instead much closer to home—at the Penn Museum.

In fact, this object, a door socket carved to resemble a captive, was exchanged for another Egyptian prisoner—a statue that is currently on display in the Penn Museum’s Upper Egyptian Gallery.

The Met’s prisoner kneels, arms clearly bound behind him, his face partially damaged in what may have been a ritual act of destruction. The statue dates to Dynasty 6 of the Old Kingdom and was made during the reign of Pepi II (ca. 2246-2152 BCE). The Penn Museum’s door socket is older, dating to the first or second Egyptian dynasties—between 3000 and 2675 BCE.

Nevertheless, both prisoners seem to evoke regret, elicit sympathy, and ultimately, inspire fear for their captors—the aim of the Egyptian pharaohs who ordered their creation.

There’s more information on the Penn Museum’s website here.  You can also find a New York Times review of the exhibition with photo of the door socket here.  Enjoy!

Leave a comment

Filed under Alex F., Campus Life, Fine Art, Penn in the Summer, Penn Museum, Student Perspective, The Arts, The Arts at Penn

Art Thou Happy?

by Lisa Marie Patzer

One of my favorite places to visit at Penn is the Institute of Contemporary Art on 36th and Sansom Street.   On a recent visit, I captured a few images:

Happiness Measured in Gum Balls

Happiness Measured in Gum Balls

Scale of Happiness

Scale of Happiness

Happiness Confessional
Happiness Confessional

The Happy Show is not about the color yellow, but about the concept of happiness.  Stefan Sagmeister, the creator of The Happy Show, references his personal experience as well as psychological studies, such as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, pop culture, and demographic statistics.

If you find yourself in West Philly, stop by the ICA.  As Sagmeister states, the show won’t necessarily make you happy, but it will give you a chance to interact with the notion of happiness.

1 Comment

Filed under Fine Art, Lisa Marie Patzer, Photos, The Arts, The Arts at Penn, Uncategorized

LOVE, by Robert Indiana

Author: Lisa Marie Patzer

Today is Valentine’s Day, and being highly aware of the controversy surrounding this holiday, I am going to cleverly avoid talking directly about the notion of celebrating romantic love and instead write about one of the most famous works of art at the University of Pennsylvania.

LOVE, by Robert Indiana, University of Pennsylvania

LOVE, gifted by Jeffrey and Sivia Loriato to the University in 1998, was installed on Locust Walk across from Sweeten Alumni House.  LOVE is a sculpture by American artist Robert Indiana (born Robert Clark) and is one of several variations of the sculpture Indiana created between 1966 and 1998.  The image was originally designed as a Christmas card (I realize I’m stretching the Valentine’s Day connection) for the Museum of Modern Art in 1965.

In the book Artists and Prints: Masterworks from The Museum of Modern Art, Judith Hecker states, “Few Pop images are more widely recognized than Indiana’s LOVE. Originally designed as a Christmas card commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art in 1965, LOVE has appeared in prints, paintings, sculptures, banners, rings, tapestries, and stamps. Full of erotic, religious, autobiographical, and political underpinnings—especially when it was co-opted as an emblem of 1960s idealism—LOVE is both accessible and complex in meaning. In printed works, Indiana has rendered LOVE in a variety of colors, compositions, and techniques. He even translated it into Hebrew for a print and a sculpture at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.” (166)

The original sculpture was made of steel and has been on exhibit at the Indianapolis Museum of Art since 1970.

LOVE, Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1970

Since 1970, Indiana has created numerous versions of the sculpture both nationally and internationally.

LOVE, Museum Langen Foundation in Insel Hombroich bij DĂĽsseldof, Duitsland

LOVE,Tower of Shinjyuku Island, Japan

LOVE, Vancouver Canada

LOVE, Valencia, Spain

AHAVA (LOVE in Hebrew), , Israel Museum Art Garden, Jerusalem, Israel

LOVE, Love Park, Philadelphia, PA

Come visit us at Alumni Sweeten House and see the LOVE sculpture on campus.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fine Art, Lisa Marie Patzer, Philadelphia, Photos, The Arts at Penn, Uncategorized

Human Hair, Pink Plastic Twist Ties, and Wax

Author: Lisa Marie Patzer

What could human hair, pink plastic twist ties, and wax have in common? They are all considered essential materials for fiber art by contemporary artists featured in the exhibition “In Material, Fiber 2012” at the University of Pennsylvania, Arthur Ross Gallery.

Arthur Ross Gallery

Arthur Ross Gallery

Lucy Arai, Sonya Clark, Mi-Kyoung Lee, and Cynthia Schira, the four artists in the show, use innovation, imagination, and unexpected materials to weave their personal approach in fiber arts from this long-standing traditional art form.  The work I was most impressed with was Mi_Kyoung Lee’s pink wall tapestry.

Mi-Kyoung Lee Untitled, 2011 and Untitled 2012

Positioned behind the bright yellow sculpture (also by Lee), I immediately walked over to investigate the wall piece more closely.  I was surprised to find that this enormous, bright pink weaving was made of common plastic twist-ties; the thin strands of wire and plastic used by shoppers to keep their produce in the bag.  The utilitarian object had been transformed into a material for artistic expression and inspiration.

Juxtaposed to Lee’s large untitled works she has several small, discrete, wax on paper pieces.

Untitled, 2011 by Mi-Kyoung Lee

Untitled, 2011 by Mi-Kyoung Lee

The other work in the show includes two large wall sculptures made out of black plastic combs and several small pieces made of woven human hair by Sonya Clark.  In her artist statement, Clark says she is guided by two questions, “What is fiber art?” and “How does function fit into the notion of her contemporary art practice?” She answers these questions through an investigation of hairdressing, what she considers a primordial form of fiber art; the comb the essential tool of this fiber art, “from hair salon to loom.”

But don’t take my word for it. Go investigate the exhibit for yourself. The show is up until March 25th, with a gallery talk by artists Lucy Arai and Mi-Kyoung Lee on Saturday, March 3, 10:30 AM in conjunction with the Fiber Philadelphia 2012 opening weekend.

Leave a comment

Filed under Fine Art, Lisa Marie Patzer, The Arts, The Arts at Penn, Uncategorized