Current and Coming features detailed information about current and forthcoming programs, events, exhibits and activities of historical and cultural institutions in Pennsylvania. Originated as “Currents.” Retitled “Current and Coming,” Winter 2003, and then retitled “Out and About,” Fall 2005. Revived as “Current and Coming,” Winter 2013. Ran regularly, Spring 1984 to Spring 2008, and then occasionally, Winter 2013 to Spring 2015.

Feathered Friends

An exhibition entitled “Fine Feathered Friends: Rare Ornithological Books from the Francis R. Cope, Jr., Collec­tion” will open at the Library Company of Philadelphia on Monday, April 25 [1994]. The collection contains major works by the most important ornithologists of the nine­teenth century, including John James Audubon, John Gould, Daniel Giraud Elliot, and R. Bowdler Sharpe. In this first interpretive exhibition of the Francis R. Cope, Jr., Collection, these natural history master­pieces will be placed in historic, scientific, and artistic context. “Fine Feathered Friends” will show how the works of these nineteenth century ornithologists, as well as artists, survive as artifacts of the period in which the beauty of nature was discovered-just as it was beginning to disap­pear.

Audubon’s, Gould’s, Elliot’s, and Sharpe’s data on classification, coloring, habitat, nesting, eggs, and related topics are still used by scien­tists and environmentalists. For much of the nineteenth century, the study of nature was the most rapidly advanc­ing branch of science, and the ornithologists who traveled to the remotest corners of the earth in search of new species were among the most adven­turous of the naturalists. In fact, they were explorers and as such part of the advance guard of an expanding industrial civilization which was soon to spoil the beauty they celebrated; they captured a world that was vanishing as rapidly as they sketched and made their field notes. Discoveries made by nine­teenth century naturalists captivated the public, and amateur ornithologists found they could make important contributions to science simply by describing unrecorded species in their own neighbor­hoods. Many amateur bird watchers formed organizations devoted to saving endangered species from extinction.

The universal appeal of the books written by leading nineteenth century naturalists derives from the fact that they are among the greatest achievements of the graphic arts of the day. These orni­thologists were superb artists-John James Audubon was, perhaps, the finest painter of his age. John Gould made only the rough sketches for his books, but they were finished by Edward Lear, the finest of aJl the bird painters, although he is better known as the author and illustrator of the popular Book of Nonsense. No expense was spared in the transfer of the naturalists’ paintings and sketches to the media of copper plate engrav­ing or lithography, as each plate was colored by hand under the supervision of the artist. These striking color plates not only record scien­tific data about the appearance of birds, but capture their breathtaking beauty, mystery, and magic.

“Fine Feathered Friends: Rare Ornithological Books from the Francis R. Cope, Jr., Collec­tion” will remain on view through Friday, September 23 [1994].

Francis R. Cope, Jr., had originally given this magnifi­cent collection of ornithological books to the Susquehanna County Historical Society and Free Library Association, Montrose, in northeastern Pennsylvania. He had given hundreds of books on science and natural history to his local public library. Most were current publications which expanded the library’s circulat­ing collection, but there were a number of rare titles upon which he placed stringent restrictions regarding their care and exhibition. Cope’s rare book collection consists of seventy titles, including two sets of the octavo edition of Audubon’s Birds of America (1840-1844), Elliot’s Pittidae, or Family of Ant Thrushes (1863) and Bucerotidae or the Family of Hornbills (1882), a complete set of the monumental works of Gould, and Alexander Wilson’s American Ornithology, or the Natural History of the Birds of the United States (1828-1829). The collection also includes several non-ornitho­logical natural history books, of which the most notable is Audubon’s elephant folio Viviparous Quadrupeds of North America (1845-1848).

Over the years the board of the local library became increasingly concerned about the condition of Cope’s gifts. It was impossible for a public library to adequately conserve the books and comply with Cope’s restrictions. The library’s board appealed to the Susquehanna County Court to determine the nature of its obligations. The court ruled that the Francis R. Cope, Jr., Collection was a charitable trust and, therefore, subject to the Commonwealth’s laws governing trusts. The court appointed two masters, experts in the care and preservation of old books, to advise it on ways in which to properly safeguard Cope’s gift and keep it intact.

The masters surveyed and then examined several libraries in Pennsylvania to identify an appropriate repository. They selected the Library Company of Philadelphia, established by Benjamin Franklin in 1731. In August 1992, the Library Company and the Susquehanna County library agreed on terms of the transfer, and the court issued a consent decree officially recognizing the Library Company’s appointment as trustee. The entire process of negotiations and deliberations took six years.

“Fine Feathered Friends” will enable visitors to appreciate a twentieth century collector’s love of nature and of books. The exhibition will be accompa­nied by gallery talks and special events. Visiting hours are Monday through Friday, 9 A. M. to 4:45 P. M. Admission is free.

To obtain additional information, write: Library Company of Philadelphia, 1314 Locust St., Philadelphia, PA 19107-5698; or telephone (215) 546-3181.


Community Fabric

On view at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through Sunday, April 10 [1994], “Commu­nity Fabric: African American Quilts and Folk Art” examines the traditionally shared cultural aesthetics of closely knit communities in the rural South. Fifty quilts, together with fifteen other textiles, fourteen sculptures, ten carved canes, and a selection of drawings, paintings, ceramics, fans, and decorated boxes made between 1900 and 1980 have been selected from private collections especially for this exhibit. “Community Fabric” illustrates how similar social and economic back­ground, ethnic heritage, religious beliefs, and common life experience influence aesthetic expression as well as countless aspects of daily life.

“Community Fabric: African American Quilts and Folk Art” was originally conceived as a showcase of important, recently-docu­mented quilts. Rooted in earlier aesthetics of African textile design, African Ameri­can quilts reveal a strong tie to ancestral origins. European American quilts are generally marked by a regular repetition of pattern and traditional border, and were often made by groups of women. The patterns of rural southern African American quilts, by contrast, are usually the product of a single artisan’s vision. Cool, rhythmic, and unexpected – suggesting a visual equivalent to jazz – the designs of these quilts can be deliberately asymmetrical and encompass both abstract and figural motifs.

As museum researchers and curators began examining objects in other media pro­duced in the same communities, they discovered striking similarities in both the use of color and pattern preference; they noted silhouetted forms, bird and animal motifs, recurring seashell designs, random geometric patterns, and strip patterns similar to those found in West African textiles, such as Kente cloth. Thus, the exhibit was expanded to encompass a full range of works in many materials. The examples featured in “Com­munity Fabric: African American Quilts and Folk Art” illustrate the individuality of twentieth century African American quilters and folk artists, who adapt long established cultural forms and traditional American patterns to produce highly original expressions of shared commu­nity and life experiences.

For additional information regarding visiting hours, group tours, and admission rates, write: Philadelphia Museum of Art, P. O. Box 7646, Philadelphia, PA 19101; or telephone (215) 684-7860 or 684-7865.



The Allentown Art Mu­seum has become a putter’s paradise with the installation of an unusual exhibition of eighteen holes of miniature golf. Entitled “Putt-Modern­ism,” this functional indoor course can be viewed as an art exhibition or, for a more interactive approach, museum visitors can actually play through the gallery, testing their skill against that of the artists’ cleverly planned course.

Each golf green featured in “Putt-Modernism” is an original work of art designed by a prominent contemporary artist or architect. Many of the miniature greens reflect elements of the creators’ more serious work; well-known architect Michael Graves, for instance, stumps players with his Putt-Hut, a classical three door, one hole architectural folly. Some greens are purely whimsical; Gregory Amenoff devotes his, The King’s Hole, to the life of Elvis Presley, while Sandy Skoglund constructs hers from orange Cheez Doodles. Other artists explore controversial issues such as censorship, war, and environ­mental dangers. Even the golf balls have been elevated to an art form, sporting Jenny Holzer’s pithy, ironic state­ments, such as “Protect Me From What I Want.” Equally engaging for art lovers and miniature golf aficionados alike, all eighteen holes of “Putt-Modernism,” several of which incorporate moving parts or hazards, are playful and playable.

The imaginative possibili­ties of a miniature golf course are what led the staff of the Artists Space in New York to develop “Putt-Modernism” in 1992. Twenty prominent artists and architects also found the concept irresistible. Included in this innovative and interac­tive exhibit are: Dina Bursztyn, Mel Chin, Chris Clarke, John Diebboll, Elizabeth Enders, Frank Gehry, Barry Holden, Elizabeth Murray, Pat Oleszko and Ward Shelly, Alison Saar, Cindy Sherman, Joan Snyder, John Torreano, Fred Wilson, and Nina Yankowitz.

A national touring exhibi­tion, “Putt-Modernism” will remain on view – and in play – at the Allentown Art Museum through Sunday, May 29 [1994]. Extended visiting hours are being offered by the museum. Admission is charged.

For more information, write: Allentown Art Museum, Fifth and Court Sts., P. O. Box 388, Allentown, PA 18105- 0388; or telephone (215) 432-4333.


Accessing Architecture

The Heinz Architectural Center of The Carnegie Mu­seum of Art in Pittsburgh, one of the nation’s most significant facilities for the study of architecture within an art museum, recently opened its doors to the public. Committed to furthering the appreciation and understanding of architec­ture, The Heinz Architectural Center collects, documents, and interprets architectural draw­ings, models, photographs, and related artifacts and objects. The full range of historic architec­tural expression – as well as issues of current concern to the profession – is explored through broad research programs, public exhibitions, publications, lectures, and special events. While the center’s concerns are wide-ranging, the rich history of architecture in Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania and its relationship to both national and international developments is of special interest.

Founded at The Carnegie Museum of Art in 1990, the center comprises three galleries for changing exhibi­tions and installations, master architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s San Francisco office (1951-1959), a collection study room, video screening room, recep­tion and information area, a study room specifically for visiting scholars, and collec­tion storage areas.

The Heinz Architectural Center’s extensive collection includes more than three thousand drawings and renderings, prints, models, and photographs by such well-known architects as Robert Adam, Sir John Soane, Henry Hobson Richardson, Eugene­ Emanuel Viollet-le-Duc, Sir Edwin Lutyens, Paul Rudolph, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Rudolph’s 1958 design for the Yale Art and Architec­ture Building is the most recent work in the collection; a German model for an altar­piece dating to the first quarter of the eighteenth century is the oldest.

The collection features designs for residential, institutional, commercial, and industrial buildings and structures. Works include drawings by students and both early projects and commis­sions by established designers. Also included in the collection are sketchbooks and prelimi­nary drawings rendered by designers for their own use (and often highly personal in character), as well as presenta­tion drawings and models, some of which were produced by professional delineators and model builders that illustrate a more public side of architectural practice. The work of professional delinea­tors includes drawings by E. Eldon Deane, Highson Hawley, Birch Burdette Long, Otto Eggers, and John Wenrich.

The Heinz Architectural Center’s expanding collection includes examples of engineer­ing, landscape, furniture, and interior design. A handsome set of drawings by Otto Leopold for bridges planned between 1850 and 1880 documents the advances during a period of great innovation in structural design. A large group of drawings by the Davenport and Irving and Casson companies illustrate these firms’ extensive furniture and interior design projects throughout the United States during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. On exhibit are architectural fragments, including actual building cornices and capitals, and two copper window dormers from Andrew Carnegie’s 1902 New York mansion. The collection of architectural elements and models complements The Carnegie Museum of Art’s noted Hall of Architecture, which contains more than one hundred and forty plaster casts of architectural orna­ments from ancient, medieval, and renaissance buildings and monuments.

As a center for regional research, The Heinz Architec­tural Center has initiated two ongoing projects: a biographi­cal dictionary of artists and builders in western Pennsylva­nia, and an oral history program that captures the voices and visions of architects and architectural historians as they remember their education, profession, commis­sions, and colleagues. Center staff and collections will place western Pennsylvania architec­ture and architects within the context of national and international developments.

Made possible by a ten million dollar grant from the Drue Heinz Foundation, the center honors the memory of Henry J. Heinz II who, from 1941 until his death in 1987, was a member of the board of trustees of the Carnegie Institute. Through his contri­butions to the physical and cultural well-being of the city, Heinz’s impact as architectural patron on Pittsburgh’s character and appearance remains evident. While chairman of the H.J. Heinz Company, he engaged several of the foremost architects of the day to design portions of the company’s factories and plants. Heinz was also one of the driving forces behind the renewal of Pittsburgh’s famous Golden Triangle area.

Visiting hours at The Heinz Architectural Center are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 A. M. to 5 P. M.; Sunday, 1 to 5 P. M. There is an admission charge.

For more details, write: The Heinz Architectural Center, The Carnegie Museum of Art, 4400 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213-4080; or telephone (412) 622-5550.


A New Deal

Few periods have had a more profound impact on modern American life than the 1930s. The Great Depression is still regarded as the most devastating economic catastro­phe of the twentieth century, while Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s reform package, the New Deal, articulated a vision of the federal government’s role in the lives of ordinary citizens (which continues to stir debate in the 1990s). With the possible exception of the Civil War, no other set of events in American history can claim to have touched more lives.

The thirties were no less momentous for Johnstown, the small Cambria County indus­trial center spread out over a range of hills and valleys about sixty miles east of Pittsburgh. The city captured the nation’s attention on three separate occasions during that period: in 1932, after more than four thousand World War I veterans and their families pitched camp just outside the city limits at the behest of Johnstown’s contro­versial new mayor; in 1936, after a flood devastated the commu­nity for a second time in just forty years, inspiring residents to seek out some permanent form of flood control; and in 1937, when the city was placed under martial law after a strike at Bethlehem Steel nearly escalated into civil war. These events, however, merely suggest the scope of changes that had occurred in the city. Johnstown entered the 1930s as one kind of community and emerged as one almost wholly transformed; the New Deal may have been formulated in Washington, D. C., but it was forged in industrial cities such as Johnstown.

Entitled “Forging A New Deal: Johnstown and the Great Depression, 1929-1941,” an exhibition mounted by the Johnstown Area Heritage Association documents the turbulent history of Johnstown during the thirties through more than one hundred original images and documents. Installed in the third floor galleries of the Johnstown Flood Museum, the exhibition will continue through Thursday, September 1 [1994].

“Forging a New Deal: Johnstown and the Great Depression, 1929-1941,” traces the dramatic events triggered by the Great Depression, including the election of Edward J. McCloskey, a former prize­fighter, as mayor in 1931. The combative and contentious McCloskey helped stage mammoth rallies to protest Pres. Herbert Hoover’s unemployment policies, opened city council meetings to the public, and took on the Bethlehem Steel Company for allegedly tamper­ing with local election returns. He openly scolded Johnstown’s business leaders, particularly those represented through what he called the “Chamber of Comics” for their meek compliance to the wishes of Bethlehem Steel. Impetuous and irrepressible, Mayor McCloskey, however, caused more contro­versy than celebration during the first year of his administra­tion; his idealistic programs fell far short of his predictions and his battles tended to rage-but without resolution.

Hope came to Johnstown in the form of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the Democratic candidate for president, largely unknown to city residents even after his nomination. Edward J. McCloskey knew of Roosevelt and campaigned fervently for him in Johnstown and through­out the Commonwealth. In Roosevelt’s economic recovery programs, McCloskey saw resemblances to his own solutions to the deepening economic crisis. Roosevelt’s agenda for the New Deal, only vaguely set forth during the campaign, assumed lightning speed after he took office in March 1933. During his legendary first one hundred days, President Roosevelt used executive order to institute sweeping changes in govern­ment policy, all of which were designed to reverse the country’s economic misfortunes and soften the impact of the Great Depression. It did not take long for the impact of President Roosevelt’s New Deal to be felt in Johnstown and Cambria County which, with more than twenty-two thousand workers unemployed that spring, stood to gain much. By June 1936, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) had invested nearly four million dollars in the county. Escorted by Gov. George H. Earle ill and Johnstown’s new mayor, Daniel Shields, Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt toured Johnstown after the devastating flood of 1936 and before departing authorized an order allocating three hundred thousand dollars for flood control survey work. Johnstown residents could not have been more hopeful.

“Forging A New Deal: Johnstown and the Great Depression” examines various federal work relief programs in addition to the WPA, including the short-lived Civil Works Administration (CWA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). The legacy of the CCC’s camps, one of which was established at Johnstown’s Stackhouse Park, is interpreted through photographs, artifacts, and memorabilia donated by former CCC members from Johnstown and vicinity. The exhibition also showcases industrial landscape paintings by local artists Lawrence Whittaker, Ludwig Henning, and Ann Sawyer Berkley who were employed under various WPA programs. During the mid-1930s, Berkley painted a series of watercolors depicting everyday life in Johnstown’s African American community. Her work was later featured in a Black artists exhibition at Pittsburgh’s Gulf Building, where it received the attention of a Pittsburgh Courier reporter. The writer praised Berkley and her fellow artists for having “taken their subjects almost entirely from their own people and in their own spirit, instead of wanly copying the faded and sometimes decadent tradition of modern painting.” In addition to fine art, “Forging A New Deal” features hand puppets, architectural models, and posters produced for various WPA art and education programs conducted in Johnstown in the thirties.

The exhibition also addresses the early struggles of the union movement in Johnstown through photographs and ephemera from the campaign to organize steelworkers at the Bethlehem Steel Company. On exhibit are rare photographs of the Steel Workers Organizing Committee members distribut­ing union materials and displaying placards at steel plant gates. Historic film footage located at institutional and national archives is featured at an interactive computer station, where visitors can view local events which made national news headlines, including the march of the Bonus Army in 1932, the St. Patrick’s Day Flood of 1936, and the bitter steel strike of 1937.

“Forging A New Deal: Johnstown and the Great Depression, 1929-1941,” is accompanied by United by Right, Divided by Fear, a documentary produced by the Johnstown Area Heritage Association which analyzes the strike which occurred at Bethlehem Steel in 1937. Based on interviews with former steelworkers and union organizers, as weU as on ori­ginal film footage, the documen­tary reconstructs the series of events which led to the procla­mation of martial law that June.

Visiting hours at the Johnstown Flood Museum, located at Washington and Walnut streets, are 10 AM. to 5 P.M. daily.

Additional information is available by writing: Johnstown Area Heritage Association, Johnstown Flood Museum, P. O. Box 1889, Johnstown, PA 15907; or by telephoning (814) 539-1889.


Mystery, Romance

The art of one of America’s foremost turn-of-the-century illustrators is being celebrated this spring at the Brandywine River Museum, Chadds Ford, in an exhibition entitled “Mystery and Romance: The Art of Joseph Clement Coll.” The first retrospective and the only one­-person show of his work, the exhibition affirms Coll’s superb talent among his better-known contemporaries.

Since Coll’s sudden death at the age of forty in 1921, little attention has been paid to this once widely admired – and lately largely neglected – ­illustrator. The exhibition showcases forty-five pen and ink drawings attesting to Coll’s talent and imagination. Many of the works featured in “Mystery and Romance: The Art of Joseph Clement Coll” have never before been publicly exhibited.

Born in Philadelphia in 1881, Joseph Clement Coll was introduced to the art of illustra­tion by his father, a bookbinder. Like other illustrators of the day, Coll admired the work of English artists, but he was particularly influenced by the work of Spanish artist Daniel Vierge, known for his successful treatment of intense sunlight using “selective modeling” and “rich blacks.” Self-taught, Coll possessed enough natural talent for drawing to lead to positions on daily newspapers in New York and Chicago, enabling him to further develop his skills as a draftsman. In his early twenties he returned to Philadelphia where he turned to magazine illustration.

Joseph Clement Coll’s imagination and ability to accurately reproduce character and dress enhanced popular mystery stories by his contempo­raries, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Wallace, and Sax Rohmer. Highlighting the exhibition is a large selection of illustrations for Sir Nigel, Doyle’s popular series which appeared in the Associated Sunday Magazine in 1905-1906. This grouping underscores the artist’s superb ability to re-create the romantic adventures of medieval knighthood in strong, unerring, and charismatic line.

From 1911 to 1921, Coll worked extensively for Collier’s magazine, creating some of his finest work. Seance, an illustra­tion for Rohmer’s Fire Tongue, included in “Mystery and Romance: The Art of Joseph Clement Coll,” evokes the mystical ambiance created by the writer.

“Mystery and Romance: The Art of Joseph Clement Coll” is on view through Sunday, May 22 [1994]. The exhibition is accompanied by a book entitled The Magic Pen of Joseph Clement Coll, written by Walter Reed.

The Brandywine River Museum is open daily, 9:30 A. M. to 4:30 P. M. There is an admission fee.

For more information, write: Brandywine River Museum, P. O. Box 141, Chadds Ford, PA 19317; or telephone (610) 388-2700.