It is rare for two museums to commission and present one exhibition. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) and the African American Museum in Philadelphia (AAMP) announced their collaboration for Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America. Twenty artists were asked the timely question: “Is the sun rising or setting on the experiment of American democracy?” The exhibit features the artists’ multiple viewpoints on themes of equality, free speech, and other tenets of democracy.
Rising Sun was curated by Dejay Duckett, Vice President of Curatorial Services (AAMP); Judith Tannenbaum, Project Curator (PAFA); Mekhala Singhal, Curatorial Fellow (PAFA); Michael K. Wilson, Curatorial Fellow (AAMP) and is inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s words and the poetic lyrics of James Welson Johnson. At the Constitutional Convention, Franklin questioned the future of the United States. He announced he “looked at that [sun] behind the president without being able to tell whether it was rising or setting: but now at length I have the happiness to know it is a rising sun and not a setting sun.” Johnson encouraged readers to face “the rising sun of our new day begun” in Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing.
The AAMP and PAFA teamed up to transform their galleries for Rising Sun and share a commitment to build more equitable museum spaces.
Rising Sun will be on view until October 8, 2023. To purchase tickets and for more information, click here.