In recognition of the 50th anniversary of The State Museum and Archives Complex, The State Museum of Pennsylvania will present a juried photography exhibition that honors iconic Modern architecture throughout the commonwealth. The exhibit will open at The State Museum on Sunday, October 25, 2015, with an awards ceremony at 2:00 PM and will be on view through Sunday, February 28, 2016.
This state-wide juried competition – with entries received from March 1 through June 30, 2015 – challenged artists to submit photographs of buildings created from 1930-1980 that showcase the popular designs of Midcentury Modern architecture. This exhibition will feature nearly 100 images from across the state. More than 26 Pennsylvania cities and towns are represented and 52 Midcentury Modern buildings will be featured in the show.
The exhibition will document this important architecture which is often “hidden in plain sight.” Photographers focused on both the details and the overall views of residences, schools, commercial structures, religious buildings, among others. In addition, buildings designed by several world-famous architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra and Louis Kahn were captured by a number of photographers for the show.
“This is an important exhibition for Pennsylvania because Midcentury Modern structures appear across the state,” said Jim Vaughan, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. “We hope that recognizing the merit in the architecture will improve the likelihood of preservation and revitalization of Pennsylvania’s communities.”
The State Museum chose three judges with expertise in preservation and photography. The team of jurors were Dennis Hockman (Editor-in-Chief of Preservation Magazine and Senior Director, Editor and Creative, of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Washington, D.C.), Betsy Manning (Philadelphia-based photojournalist and featured photographer in the special exhibit, “UnCommon Modern: A Pennsylvania Glossary of Modern Architecture”) and David Oresick (Executive Director, Silver Eye Center for Photography, Pittsburgh). The trio worked together to select photographs for the exhibit that highlighted technical skill and best represented the theme. The jurors also considered creativity, the photographers’ artistic talents as well as their knowledge of Modern architecture.
Awards for the best photograph in the exhibition and also for the best representation of The State Museum and Archives Complex will be announced at the exhibit’s opening on October 25. General admission to the museum will be free on that date.
The 50th anniversary of the opening of The State Museum and Archives Complex, at Third and North Streets in Harrisburg, was the impetus for the competition, as well as the listing of the complex to the National Register of Historic Places in 2014. The complex’s architecture showcases fundamental factors such as “form follows function” design theory, natural materials, abstract graphic designs and the connection between the nature outside and the structural elements inside.
Visitors to this exhibition will have the opportunity to see the photographers’ interpretations of the architecture, learn about the movement and celebrate the buildings within their own communities. Architecture and photography fans from across the state will appreciate this celebration of Midcentury Modern design.
Media Contact: Howard Pollman, 717-705-8639
Editor’s Note: Photographers selected to the “Pennsylvania Modern” exhibition are listed by county:
Theodore Van Pelt
James McMahon Jr.