Philadelphia, PA (September 20, 2023)—Moore College of Art & Design (“Moore”) announced the launch of Michelle Lopez: Pandemonium, a collaborative project with the Franklin Institute, made possible by a $360,500 grant from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. The grant includes both project funding and an additional 20% in unrestricted, general operating support. The project will result in a two-pronged, immersive multimedia installation that will be presented concurrently at The Galleries at Moore and the Fels Planetarium of the Franklin Institute, connecting the two institutions along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The exhibition is expected to debut in fall 2025.
“Creating opportunities to further connect Moore’s campus with the vibrant Philadelphia arts and culture community around us is an institutional priority, so we are incredibly proud to partner with the Franklin Institute to present Pandemonium,” said Cathy Young, president, Moore College of Art & Design. “Collaborations that push the boundaries of both art and technology further our mission of providing enriching cultural experiences for our students, the talented artists across the region, and our surrounding neighbors. We are so grateful to The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage for their extraordinary support, which paves the way for us to reach new heights of innovation.”
Michelle Lopez has been dedicated for nearly 30 years to pushing the boundaries of sculpture as a cultural critique of collapsing the built environment through a minority-brown lens, by dismantling and re-assembling physical forms to embody violence.
Evolving from an earlier body of work (Smoke Clouds, 2014), Pandemonium investigates the concept of an explosive phenomenon of a “cloud”—whether a natural disruption from a disastrous tornado or the digital/virtual haze of our human-generated misinformation—and how both disasters leave their own kind of debris as a relic of violence. This interdisciplinary project dynamically uses space and technology to envelop the viewer in an epic form of riotous beauty by building different metaphorical cloud conflagrations to reflect on the current systemic collapse and climate crisis.
Using new methods never explored previously in her practice, Lopez will create a virtual reality sculpture that floats digitally in the Fels Planetarium’s expansive domed sky. Steps away at The Galleries at Moore, a smaller adapted version of Pandemonium will intermingle with a solo/retrospective exhibition of Lopez’ recent and rarely seen sculptural work that contextualizes Lopez’s investigations.
“We are excited to partner with Moore to promote cultural experiences like Pandemonium that further enhance the Parkway offerings,” said Abby Bysshe, Chief Experience and Strategy Officer at The Franklin Institute. “We look forward to seeing this project come to life in the Fels Planetarium.”
Gabrielle Lavin Suzenski, Rochelle F. Levy Director & Chief Curator of The Galleries at Moore, will steward the project. Cole Akers, Curator & Associate Director of Special Projects at The Glass House, will serve as curator for the project.
"I’m so excited to realize this immersive project after so many years of working on it with curator Cole Akers,” Lopez said. “It’s been a long partnership with musicians, animators, engineers and many researchers from Penn. I’m so grateful to The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage for facilitating the work with Moore and The Franklin Institute."
Grants and fellowships from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage support cultural events and artistic work that will enliven and enrich the Philadelphia region and represent diverse identities, personal experiences, and historical narratives. To learn more about The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, please visit pewcenterarts.org.
The Galleries at Moore are open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. To learn more about The Galleries at Moore, please visit thegalleriesatmoore.org.
About Moore College of Art & Design
Founded during the original industrial revolution to advance women in new fields, Moore College of Art & Design is the first and only historically women’s college for art and design. Our mission is more relevant than ever, as technology, sustainability and diverse cultures drive and disrupt new and existing industries. Through dynamic BFA and Graduate Studies programs, educational programs for creatively curious youth and professional adult learners, and our own public and dedicated space for contemporary art—The Galleries at Moore—we are influencers and advocates for breakthrough artists and designers of all ages and backgrounds. The world needs Moore. For more information about Moore, visit moore.edu and follow us on social media @moorecollegeart.
About The Franklin Institute
Located in the heart of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is a renowned and innovative leader in the field of science and technology learning, as well as a dynamic center of activity. Pennsylvania’s most visited museum, it is dedicated to creating a passion for learning about science by offering access to hands-on science education. For more information, visit www.fi.edu.
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