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The mission of the Esther Klein Gallery (EKG) is to positively impact the cultural life of both our immediate neighborhood of West Philadelphia 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 Philadelphia 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
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, the newest exhibit on display at the University City Science Center’s Esther Klein Gallery (EKG), offers an artist’s perspective as it explores the human condition through the lens of the gut microbiome.
Gut Love opens October 12, 2017, and runs through November 25th. An opening reception for the exhibit will be held at EKG, 3600 Market Street, on October 12th from 5 – 7:30 p.m.
Created by performance artist Kathy High, Gut Love embraces metaphors of interspecies love, immunology and bacteria as it examines research in fecal microbial transplants and gut biomes to better understand the importance of bacteria’s function in our bodies. We have millions of bacteria and fungi in and on our systems; how do these ecologies of the body coexist? As a patient with Crohn’s disease, High’s interest in gut microbiota starts with her own body.
Led by High, Gut Love includes collaborations with William DePaolo, Guy Schaffer, Oliver Kellhammer, and Allison Berkoy, with creative input from Zach Appio, Diane Bertolo, DePaolo Lab team (Andrew Johnson, Denise Chac, Melissa Kordahi, Bayaan Haidar, and Amy Parker), Caitlin Foley, Eleanor Goldsmith, Shannon Johnson, Jillian Hirsch, Kat McDermott, Solon Morse, Senem Pirler, and Paul Vanouse.
The exhibition also features a performance and research talk with Kathy High, Guy Schaffer and William DePaolo, on October 26th from 7 – 8 p.m. and October 27th from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. at EKG. Schaffer, a Science Technology Studies (STS) scholar, will discuss his research on Dr. Chalis Underdue, a radical proctologist from the 1800s. Immunologist and Director of the Center for Microbiome Sciences and Therapeutics William DePaolo will join High to talk about their collaboration in gut microbiome manipulations.
Kathy High is an interdisciplinary artist, educator working with technology, art and biology. She collaborates with scientists and other artists, and considers living systems, empathy, animal sentience, and the social, political and ethical dilemmas of biotechnology and surrounding industries. She has received awards including Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, and National Endowment for the Arts. Her art works have been shown internationally at documenta 13, in Germany; New York’s Guggenheim Museum and the Museum of Modern Art; UCLA; Dublin’s Science Gallery, NGBK in Berlin and Fesitval Transitio_MX in Mexico, as well as at MASS MoCA, in North Adams, Mass., and Para-site in Hong Kong. High is Professor in the Arts, and has a lab in the Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY. She is an ongoing artist in resident with the Center for Microbiome Sciences & Therapeutic, DePaolo Lab, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle.
This exhibit is sponsored by CMiST Center (University of Washington), The Mütter Museum and The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Coalesce Center for Biological Art at the University of Buffalo, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute/School of HASS, The Kenneth Rainin Foundation, and the University City Science Center.
October 12 – NOvember 25, 2017
Thursday October 12th, 5 - 7:30 pm
Esther Klein Gallery
Auguest 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 both 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 either 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 College of Textiles and Science (now Philadelphia University) and the Philadelphia Art Alliance. Three artists were selected for a week-long residency at the Philadelphia College of Textiles and Science, and their work was exhibited at the Philadelphia Art Alliance in 1977.
In 1981, R. Buckminster Fuller, a World Fellow in Residence at the Science Center, was featured in an exhibition at what was then called the University City Science Center Gallery located at 3624 Market Street. 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 gallery’s relationship to the Science Center paved the way for what has become 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 and offers a dynamic program and events calendar that is free and open to the public.