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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
After four decades of innovative programming and exhibitions exploring the intersection of art, science and technology, the University City Science Center’s Esther Klein Gallery (EKG) is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a new exhibit. Art at the Science Center: A 40-Year Retrospective will pay homage to the last 40 years of artistic programming by featuring pieces from EKG’s permanent collection and archives.
Art at the Science Center: A 40-Year Retrospective will feature work by R. Buckminster Fuller, Aleksandra Kasuba, James Dupree, and others. Visitors to EKG will also have an opportunity to view a short documentary film by Marie Alarcón exploring the extensive history of the gallery, including interviews with EKG stakeholders who played a role in shaping the gallery’s development over the last 40 years.
Since its inception, the Esther Klein Gallery has used the creative arts as a platform to explore the relationships between art, science and technology. The concept originated in 1975 with Dr. Randall Whaley, former President of the Science Center and an advocate of better communication between scientists and artists. In 1976, Libby Newman, chosen by Whaley to be founder and curator of the gallery, brought Whaley’s vision to life through her programming.
In the early 1980’s, R. Buckminster Fuller, a World Fellow in Residence and inventor of the geodesic dome, was featured in a solo exhibition that included his early drawings and his then-latest invention, the 4D dymaxion book case.
“Forty years ago we had an idea that, to our knowledge, had never been attempted before” says Libby Newman. “Our goal was to facilitate active interplay between artists and scientists. The continued success of EKG demonstrates the importance and relevance of this interdisciplinary program, and the value that manifests when art and science overlap.”
The success of these early exhibitions 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. Today, the gallery maintains an ongoing calendar of dynamic programs and events that are free and open to the public.
“The decision to establish arts programming four decades ago has been one of the Science Center’s greatest experiments,” says Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D. MBA, Science Center President & CEO. “EKG’s positive impact on the cultural life of our immediate neighborhood of West Philadelphia and the broader community proves the experiment’s success.”
This exhibition is curated by Angela McQuillan of the Science Center.
December 19, 2016 – January 27, 2016
Thursday January 26, 4:30 - 7:30 pm
Esther Klein Gallery
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
How to Submit
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.