PAFA’s Chuck Close exhibit ends with workshop on the art of protest

The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts ended its Chuck Close exhibit Sunday with a workshop on the art of protest.

Allegations of sexual misconduct against Close shook the art world last December, when PAFA was already hosting an exhibit of photographs by the artist.

Tamara Weiss carries her protest poster with her as she views the Chuck Close exhibit.
Tamara Weiss carries her protest poster with her as she views the Chuck Close exhibit. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)

Unlike many institutions, which either quickly removed Close’s work or postponed exhibitions, PAFA sought input from students and faculty. The response was to create an interactive show featuring acclaimed women artists from the museum’s permanent collection.

The show, “The Art World We Want,” went on display in the Frances M. Maguire Gallery, adjacent to the Close exhibit. The public was invited to put their vision of the future of art on post-it notes on one wall of the gallery.

The "Art World We Want" show was displayed adjacent to the exibition of Chuck Close's photographs.
The “Art World We Want” show was displayed adjacent to the exibition of Chuck Close’s photographs. (Jonathan Wilson for WHYY)

On the closing day of the two exhibits, PAFA printmaking students hosted a workshop for museum visitors, helping them to create their own protest posters. The poster images were created by the Guerilla Girls, a group of anonymous women artists devoted to fighting sexism and racism in the art world.

Fifteen minutes before the museum closed, the doors to the Chuck Close gallery were closed and locked while students and museum staff covered the door with protest posters.

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