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The Esther Klein Gallery’s (EKG) mission is to positively impact the cultural life of our West Philadelphia neighborhood and the broader community. EKG programming uses the creative arts as a platform to explore the relationships between art, science and technology The gallery is home to exhibitions, artist talks, panel discussions, performances and special events. Since 1976, art programming at the Science Center has been a strong and vital force in the community.
EKG is free and open to the public. It is supported in part by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, The Rittenhouse Foundation and The Provincial Fund.
3600 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
Open Monday – Saturday 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., or by appointment
February 8, 2018 - March 24, 2018
Six teams of researchers based at Indiana University Bloomington have reimagined science, and the results are on display in a new exhibit at the Esther Klein Gallery (EKG). [RE]Imagining Science opens on February 8, 2018 and runs through March 24, 2018. The closing reception has been rescheduled for Thursday, March 22nd, 5 - 7:30 p.m. at the Esther Klein Gallery, 3600 Market Street.
[RE]Imagining Science showcases researchers’ work in the fields of visual and sound arts, design, sciences and social sciences. The exhibit features large-scale sculptural objects, photographs, installations, video works, interactive environments, microscopy images, and sound works.
The artwork illustrates various scientific principles, building new ways to understand science, and potentially creating new science as an outcome. [RE]Imagining Science was first exhibited at the Grunwald Gallery of Art at the School of Art, Architecture + Design, Indiana University Bloomington in October 2016. Six of the original 12 projects will be on display at EKG.
The artwork on display draws inspiration from a range of images, ideas and theories. Some researchers have used mathematical models, microscopy images, and protein structures to illustrate ideas found in science. Others use artmaking to clarify ways that science can inform the visual. In some of the projects, technology is used to visualize and develop new systems for imaging scientific ideas, while others rely on cells and photo-synthesis to create images, often using low-tech and handmade techniques.
December 18 – January 26, 2018
Networks are everywhere. They describe how entities—people, objects, and organisms—are connected and interact with each other. By studying the patterns of connections between elements in a variety of network systems, a group of young artists and high school students from the PENN Network Visualization Program discovered the governing principles of physical, biological, and social phenomena.
Yixiong Eason Bai, Brittany Bennett, Cody Bluett, Marie Elcin, John Freeman, Tamir Gorham, Nicholas Hanchak, Sara Hodgson, Rebecca Kellner, Katherine Khorassani, David Krevolin, Adam Lastowka, Evelyn McLear, and Noemi Charlotte Thieves. Curated by Sara Hodgson.
October 12 - November 25, 2017
Understanding the microbiome, the millions of bacteria that live in our guts, is one of the newest frontiers in human health. Gut Love: You Are My Future offers an artist’s perspective as it explores the human condition through the lens of the gut microbiome.
August 17 - September 30, 2017
While art and science are often thought of as two completely separate modes of thought, they are much more closely connected than one might think. A Mesh Is Also a Snare is a group exhibition presented by the Philadelphia-based artist collective Grizzly Grizzly. The title, A Mesh Is Also a Snare, is derived from an ecological concept that all forms of life are connected in a vast entangling mesh. No construct exists independently from the entanglement, nor does “human” or “nature” exist as a separate hierarchical entity; they are interdependent. The exhibit explores the myriad ways in which technology connects art and science, to illustrate how neither field precedes the other but instead acts upon each other to form new cultural and political ideologies.
June 22, 2017 – July 22, 2017
Feature Creep, a solo exhibition by Maximillian Lawrence, follows an artist’s journey through creative experimentation and interdisciplinary collaboration. The term “feature creep” primarily refers to the ongoing expansion of features in products like computer software, usually making the software more complicated. Lawrence has adopted this terminology and describes it as the process of life creeping into a piece of work, similar to the experience of recognizing the features of a face in a cloud. By collaborating with a diverse range of musicians, artists, enthusiasts and scientists, Lawrence explores the phenomenon of pareidolic synestheseastic transfigurations, a process in which we are inclined to recognize significant forms in unfamiliar stimuli.
April 13, 2017 - May 27, 2017
Continuum is a retrospective by sculptor Rebecca Kamen, featuring a collaborative multi-media installation that explores the relationship between inner and outer space. Continuum opened on April 13th and ran through May 27th. Among the pieces in the exhibit were NeuroCantos, a collaboration between Kamen, sound artist Susan Alexjander, and poet Steven J. Fowler. The installation investigates how the brain distinguishes between inner and outer space through its ability to perceive similar patterns of complexity at the micro and macro scale. The piece is made up of cone-shaped structures representing the neuronal networks in the brain with overlapping shapes and rocks that symbolize art’s ability to form bridges of understanding between diverse fields.
December 19, 2016 - January 26, 2017
After four decades of innovative programming and exhibitions exploring the intersection of art, science and technology, the Esther Klein Gallery is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a new exhibit. In celebration of this major milestone as an important institution and a community provider to Philadelphia, Art at the Science Center: A 40-Year Retrospective featured a short documentary film by Marie Alarcon exploring the extensive history of the gallery, with interviews featuring Libby Neuman, and other important people who played a role in shaping the development of EKG over the years. Libby Neuman was the guest of honor at the exhibit's opening reception. In addition, artwork from the gallery’s permanent collection was on view to the public, featuring work from Buckminster Fuller, Aleksandra Kasuba, James Dupree, and more.
October 20 - November 19, 2016
By Paul Vanouse
The America Project is a live, biological art installation that is centered around a process called “DNA Gel Electrophoresis”, colloquially described as “DNA Fingerprinting”, a process which the artist appropriated to produce recognizable images. Visitors to the installation first encounter what might resemble a human scale fountain or decanter, which is actually a spittoon in which their donated spit is collected. Upon entering the exhibition, viewers will be offered a 1 oz. cup of saline solution and asked to swish for thirty seconds, then deposit into the spittoon. During the installation the artist will be extracting the DNA from hundreds of different spit samples (containing cheek cells) all mixed together. The DNA will not be individuated nor retained. This DNA will be processed to make iconic DNA Fingerprint images of power—such as a crown, warplanes and a flag, which will be visible as video projections of the live electrophoresis gels throughout the exhibition.
August 18 - September 30, 2016
By Daniel Newman and Keith Hartwig
Since electronic surveillance was first used in modern society, it has become a fixture in and around urban settings, altering human behavior and reconfiguring interactions between people. Surveillance: An Exhibition of Work on the Observation, Recording, and Storage of Human Activity, explored how surveillance has evolved into a common aspect of daily life.
June 16 - July 30, 2016
by Pat Aulisio and Josh Burggraf
What will scientific journals look like 3,000 years from now? Intergalactic Geographic Retrospective offered some answers to those who were willing to suspend reality and take a trip into the future.
February 11 – March 25, 2016
A group exhibition inspired by the practice of collecting zoological samples and animal specimens.
Curated by Angela McQuillan, featuring artwork by Terri Aluise, Bedelgeuse, Beth Beverly, Lauren Davies, Greg Eaton, Darla Jackson, Stephanie Metz, Caitlin T. McCormack, Deborah Simon, Tyler Thrasher, Pierre Trombert and Nathan Vieland.
La Mer: Wildlife Series - From Diatoms to Blue Whales
December 3 - January 22, 2016
Works in clay by Marguerita Hagan
October 7 – November 20, 2015
A group exhibition demonstrating mathematic evidence in art, whether the works are directly inspired by math (geometry, fractals, patterns, etc), or if the mathematical principles emerge naturally and reveal themselves from our human disposition towards order.
Curated by Gaby Heit, featuring artwork by Justin Bean, Regina Ceribelli, William Cromar, Jessica Curtaz, Chris Eben, Robert Fathauer, Karen Freedman, S. Leser, Marco Mahler, Henry Segerman, Gabriele Meyer, Maximilian Morresi, Brittany Phillips, Bruce Pollock, Mike Tanis and Andrew Cameron Zahn
Juan M. Castro
August 26 – September 23, 2015
A creative exhibition using biomedia that reflects on the existence of artificial life and potential long-term challenges and scenarios that it might bring to society.
June 12 – July 24th 2015
An exhibition on ecology and its ideologies.
Curated by Kristin Neville Taylor with artwork by Nate Ricciuto, Allen Crawford, TJ Hunt, Carolyn Lambert, David Scott Kessler and Leila Nadir + Cary Peppermint
A crystal inspired exhibition
February 5 – March 20, 2015
Curated by Angela McQuillan, featuring artwork by Alexis Arnold, Jaime Alvarez, Elyse Graham, Malena Lopez-Maggi, Russell Leng, Jonathan Latiano, Christine Nguyen, Chris Ritson and Paige Smith.
Photos courtesy of Jaime Alvarez
EKG accepts exhibition proposals on an ongoing basis for solo and group exhibitions. All of our exhibitions connect to themes of science and/or technology. Exhibitions typically run for six to eight weeks. The exhibition schedule is determined 14-16 months in advance. We also accept proposals for special events, workshops and performances which can take place indoors or outdoors. Please send proposals to: gallery [at] sciencecenter.org.
In 1976, then-Science Center President Dr. Randall Whaley envisioned a program that explored and promoted the relationship between art and science. The first “Art in Science” exhibit was a collaborative project involving the Philadelphia Art Alliance and the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science (later known as Philadelphia University and now part of Thomas Jefferson University) . Three artists were selected for a week-long residency at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science. Their work was exhibited at the Philadelphia Art Alliance in 1977.
(Video produced by Marie Alarcon)
In 1981, R. Buckminster Fuller, a World Fellow in Residence at the Science Center, exhibited at what was then called the University City Science Center Gallery. The show included his early drawings, 4D and dymaxion ideas and his latest invention, the dymaxion bookcase.
The success of these early exhibitions and the connection to the Science Center paved the way for EKG’s primary focus on exploring the intersection between art, science and technology. To date, EKG has supported over 3,500 local, national and international artists through solo and group exhibitions. The gallery offers a dynamic program and events calendar that is free and open to the public.