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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
Curated by Leslie Atzmon
February 13, 2020 - March 28, 2020
Design and Science investigates overlap between design and science through projects that merge design and science through biodesign, present “pictures” of data about natural systems, or connect design and science through 2-D and 3-D “thinking” models. In biodesign living organisms are incorporated into design projects; biological systems may also be configured as a constituent of design. Data from nature is often a source for design. Data manifestation is scientific data manifested as objects and environments. Finally, visual “thinking” models are not just an aid to scientific data, they are designs that can reveal natural or physical processes.
Panel Discussion: Design & Science in Conversation
Thursday, February 13, 5:00-6:00 p.m.
Venture Cafe Philadelphia
3675 Market Street, 3rd Floor
Thursday, February 13, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Esther Klein Gallery
3600 Market Street, Lobby
Esther Klein Gallery (EKG)
3600 Market Street
Monday- Saturday 9-5pm
February 13, 2020 - March 28, 2020
December 12, 2019 - January 25, 2020
Human behavior towards the natural world often has unintended consequences. At a certain scale this is not a problem; the Earth can absorb a surprising amount of disruption and interference. However, there are inevitable limits with dire consequences. We have now reached a critical threshold in both complexity and scale - an Urgent Imperative - where we must intervene to create sustainable solutions with global impact. Through computer-generated objects and digital sculptures, artist Michelle Rothwell juxtaposes nature's elegant forms and ecosystems with man-made objects to emphasize the pressing need for humans to take action.
October 17, 2019 - November 23, 2019
Following a three-month BioArt Residency, Laura Splan will exhibit new work in a solo exhibition at Esther Klein Gallery opening October 17th. Conformations is the culmination of a residency designed by the University City Science Center and uCity-based biotech company, Integral Molecular. Splan’s mixed-media work explores how things are made and what they are made of, destabilizing notions of the presence and absence of bodies evoking the mutability of categories that delineate their status. During her BioArt Residency, which was supported by The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Splan worked with multiple scientists at Integral Molecular.
August 15, 2019 - September 26, 2019
A body of work by bio artist-in-residence Deirdre Murphy that explores the parallels between micro and macro, looking beyond the surface of nature and delving into the patterns that connect living things to each other and the world as a whole. After three months in the lab, Murphy presents paintings, prints, sculptures and public art that touches on naturally-occurring phenomena like migratory avian flight patterns and their similarities to immigration routes, light pollution maps mirroring viral molecular patterns, and aerial views of watershed systems mimicking vascular patterns.
July 11, 2019 - July 27, 2019
Fruits of Matadero, by Orkan Tehlhan explores the idea of growing microbially-augmented popsicles to develop new forms of cooling rituals in public space. The exhibit proposes robotic bioreactors living on artificial palm trees that grow fruits with flavors, proteins, and nutrients sourced from microorganisms. The bioreactors work like vending machines that run in the spirit of community gardens. The devices run on solar power, ferment the organisms and come down to deliver their frozen fruits all at the push of a mobile phone payment. The popsicle sticks double as a collectible item, each containing one action that we can take to help us adapt to the climate crisis.
April 12, 2019 - May 25, 2019
An exhibition of work created from medical imaging materials such as x-ray films, DNA sequencing gels and ultrasound radiographs that explore the relationships of genetics, identity and the human life cycle. By Lois Goglia.
February 7, 2019 - March 30, 2019
An exhibition illuminating the role memory plays in relation to who we are. Patricia Moss-Vreeland's drawings, paintings, prints, artist books, poetry and videos are metaphoric responses and reside in concert with the interlacing of science texts, connecting the personal to the universal. In a series of conversations Moss-Vreeland has with Dr.Dasa Zeithamova, they explore the function of the human brain to find meaning, the parallel universes of art and science, their different ways of knowing and self-expression, and the importance of stepping out of our silos and forming relationships. Moss-Vreeland integrates her ongoing inquiry about the social impact of memory in new works, adding another layer of meaning
December 13, 2018 - January 29, 2019
In current arts and health research and clinical experiences, participants and patients frequently reflect on there being little or no room in their lives for creative self-expression. Portals highlights how art making can be a portal to: learning about ourselves, enhancing physiological and psychological well-being, enabling interpersonal communication, and helping us visually say the ‘unsayable.’ This artistic metaphor of the portal, when practiced with authenticity, has the potential to connect across demographic differences, disparities, and abilities, serving as a refuge and sanctuary for the human condition.
October 18 - November 24, 2018
A solo exhibition by internationally acclaimed British artist, Anna Dumitriu, will open at the Esther Klein Gallery on October 18th. BioArt and Bacteria explores our relationship with the microbial world and the history and future of infectious diseases.
August 16 - September 29, 2018
An exhibition of works that emphasize the importance of the unseen root in generating the harmonious growth and development of a plant as a metaphor for what may happen in society if communities support or neglect those who have been uprooted. Artist and Educator Dolores Bartholomew, her students, and the Gallagher plant biology laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania have collaborated to create an art installation that explores plant design, architecture and communication.
June 28 - July 28, 2018
Edith is the IRL sequel to a virtual exhibit that took place at a rural Connecticut gallery. Edith featured works by Colin Klockner that were displayed virtually during the 2017 exhibit Edith’s Ghost at the Ghost gallery, also a project of Klockner’s. Edith ruminates on the idea of the memory palace, a mnemonic device first developed by the ancient Greeks and Romans, wherein one can use the memory of a specific architectural space to embed information to be memorized. Edith features a series of sculptures and images exploring concepts about space, memory, and narrative.
April 12 - May 26, 2018
Three Brooklyn-based artists use digital art to illustrate technology as an expansion of our bodies in Phantom Limb. Phantom Limb features work by Danielle Ezzo, Sophie Kahn and Zach Nader. The exhibit draws attention to the evolving post-digital landscape in relation to the self through diverse forms of digital art.
Zach Nader conducts image-based experiments drawn from the possibilities of contemporary image editing software coupled with the fluidity of pictorial representation. Sophie Kahn combines cutting-edge technology, such as 3D laser scanning and 3D printing, with ancient bronze casting techniques to create sculptures and videos that resemble deconstructed monuments or memorials. The interaction of new and old media engages questions of time, history, vision, identity and the body. Danielle Ezzo uses photography to investigate its relationship to both the historical and new digital aesthetic and how it meets the human form, blending the virtual and physical realms. Her practice involves connecting visceral, optical and conceptual relationships with one another by creating a new way of looking at the figure through a post photographic – or lens.
February 8, 2018 - March 24, 2018
Six teams of researchers based at Indiana University Bloomington reimagined science, and the results were on display at the Esther Klein Gallery (EKG). [RE]Imagining Science showcases researchers’ work in the fields of visual and sound arts, design, sciences and social sciences. The exhibit featured large-scale sculptural objects, photographs, installations, video works, interactive environments, microscopy images, and sound works.
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.