William Gropper's America

May 30, 2024 - October 19, 2024

Growing up in a working-class Jewish family on the Lower East Side of New York City, American artist William Gropper (1897-1977) spent his career denouncing and satirizing corrupt politicians, bourgeois capitalists, and power-hungry dictators in his artworks and commercial illustrations. The title of this exhibition is borrowed from his painting William Gropper’s America: Its Folklore (1946), a whimsically didactic map of the U.S. that illustrates legendary and historical figures, from Molly Pitcher to Johnny Appleseed. After prints of this painting were distributed widely by the U.S. State Department, Gropper was subpoenaed by Senator Joseph McCarthy, accused of Communist backing, and subsequently blacklisted. While this exhibition includes one mythological man from Gropper’s American Folklore Series Joe Magarac of Pittsburgh, who could bend steel with his bare hands other works on display provide a broader picture of Gropper’s America. Throughout this diverse selection of prints, drawings, and paintings, Gropper reflects on his personal background and political struggles to call out oppression and injustice.


June 21, 2024 - December 20, 2024

This exhibition celebrates the legacy of David Driskell’s groundbreaking 1976 exhibition Two Centuries of Black American Art, which provided audiences with a remarkably comprehensive survey of significant works, broke cultural barriers, and had an enduring impact on generations of artists. Featured artists include Margaret Burroughs, Elizabeth Catlett, Allan Rohan Crite, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Hale Woodruff, Alma Thomas, William Henry Johnson, Henry Ossawa Tanner, Dox Thrash, and Clementine Hunter, among others. The exhibition will not be a reconstruction of Driskell’s Two Centuries, but rather will celebrate Driskell’s championing of Black art, history, and culture. 

This is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Philadelphia Museum of Art as part of the Art Bridges Cohort Program.