Queer artist transforms the Barnes Foundation into a 'spiritual ground'

Gary L. Day, Philadelphia Gay News, July 17, 2023

Philadelphia is fortunate to have a number of arts institutions that are guided by people blessed with imagination and drive to make art more accessible and more relatable to the general public. One of those institutions is the Barnes Foundation, located on Benjamin Franklin Parkway.


The Barnes recently opened its latest exhibition, “William Edmondson: A Monumental Vision.” Edmondson was a prominent 20th century sculptor who was notable for, among other things, being the first African-American artist to have a solo show at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in the 1930s.


To enhance and complement the Edmondson exhibit, the Barnes commissioned visual and movement artist Brendan Fernandes to devise an ongoing installation, a dance piece to be viewed in the midst of and in conjunction with Edmondson’s sculptures. Called “Returning to Before,” the choreography is intended to allow the audience to better understand and experience the spirituality inherent in Edmondson’s sculptures.


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