Carefully recreated in LEGO® bricks by artist Warren Elsmore and his team, Brick City with LEGO® Bricks is a family exhibition, on view at the Reading Public Museum from May 29 – September 6, 2021, that celebrates iconic buildings from cities around the world. Visitors will view lively celebrations from New Zealand to New Orleans, tall skyscrapers from New York to Mecca, and imaginative castles from medieval Japan to modern Las Vegas. The Reading Pagoda, a popular Berks County landmark, will also be on view at The Museum during the run of the show. The Pagoda was created by local LEGO® artist, Kelly Hoffman.
Featuring highlights of cities across all seven continents — the magnificent centerpiece is London St Pancras Station, measuring 6 by 12 feet and built from over 180,000 standard LEGO bricks. Visitors will also discover new urban highlights like the London 2021 Olympic Park as well as some more recognizable icons, such as the Roman Colosseum.
Curator, Scott Schweigert remarked that “This summer at RPM will be a great opportunity to explore a full range of beauty and creativity through a series of engaging exhibitions. The shows will appeal to visitors from preschoolers through seniors. Brick City will surely appeal to young and old builders alike; In Nature’s Studio is sure to be a crowd pleaser, with a stunning array of American landscape paintings from the 1830s through the late twentieth-century; Katharine Hepburn’s costumes from her stage and film career will wow visitors with ‘star appeal’ from the golden age of Hollywood, and the WPA prints exhibition will offer a unique snapshot of a collectively challenging time for the nation during the Great Depression in the 1930s.”
Additional Summer exhibitions at the Reading Public Museum include:
In Nature’s Studio: Two Centuries of American Landscape Painting
June 5 – September 6
This rich exhibition features the bounty and beauty of the American landscape from the early nineteenth century through the late twentieth century. Drawn from the permanent collection of the Reading Public Museum with additional loans from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the selections explore the Hudson River School and the emergence of the first uniquely American artistic movement; Impressionism and Tonalism at the turn of the century; and Modern trends in interpreting the landscape. Majestic and inspirational depictions of bucolic American vistas—intimate forest interiors, sweeping panoramic views of natural wonders, and dramatic images of the untamed land and sea—join dramatic scenes of Europe, the Near East, and South America by artists from the United States.
More than sixty-five paintings will be featured in the exhibition including works by nineteenth-century landscape artists, such as Thomas Birch, Frederic Church, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Worthington Whittredge, William Trost Richards, Aaron Draper Shattuck, William Louis Sonntag, Paul Weber, Edmund Darch Lewis, and Hermann Herzog. The exhibition will also examine works that represent the shift to Impressionism and Tonalism at the turn of the century by painters, including George Inness, Ralph Albert Blakelock, John Francis Murphy, Elliot Daingerfield, N. C. Wyeth, Childe Hassam, William Langson Lathrop, Edward Willis Redfield, Frederick John Mulhaupt, and Robert Spencer. Modernist landscapes by George Bellows, Arthur Bowen Davies, Benton Spruance, John Fulton Folinsbee, and Andrew Wyeth, among others, chart the path to abstract and expressionistic compositions in the twentieth century.
In Nature’s Studio: Exploring Pennsylvania’s Waterways
June 5 – September 6
In Nature’s Studio: Exploring Pennsylvania’s Waterways features eight paintings on loan from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Complementing the exhibition, In Nature’s Studio: Two Centuries of American Landscape Painting, that focuses on the sweep of American landscape painting, these artists selected as their subjects the rivers, creeks, and streams in the southeastern region of the Commonwealth. Several paintings by the Peale family document the Wissahickon Creek, while other artists chose to focus on the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers. The artistic Peale family name is well-recognized, and this exhibit offers an opportunity to compare their images with the treatment of similar subjects created by lesser-known artists. Look closely, and you may find a new favorite artist or the inspiration to create your interpretation of a nearby waterway.
Katharine Hepburn: Dressed For Stage and Screen
June 12, 2021 – January 9, 2022
Recognized as one of the greatest actresses of all time, Katharine Hepburn received 12 Best Actress nominations from the Motion Picture Academy—taking the award home four times. In addition to her stellar career on stage and screen, Hepburn became known for her distinct style, wearing trousers at a time when it still raised eyebrows. Her personal preference for relaxed, casual, but chic clothing led to a 1985 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America.
This exhibition, drawn from the collection of the Kent State University Museum, includes a range of costumes and fashions that were instrumental in shaping some of the most memorable characters Hepburn portrayed over her long career. Featured in the exhibition are costumes from: the stage productions of The Philadelphia Story (1939), Without Love (1942) and Coco (1969); classic films, including Adam’s Rib (1949), Stage Door (1937) and Long Day’s Journey into Night (1962); and television movies such as Love Among the Ruins (1975). More than a dozen different designers are represented, including Hepburn favorites, Walter Plunkett (1902–1982) and Valentina (1899–1989), who were particularly skilled at producing elegant designs for her long-limbed, athletic figure. Some of the other designers represented include Howard Greer (1896–1974), Edith Head (1897–1981), Norman Hartnell (1901–1979), Irene (1901–1962), Ray Diffin (1922–2012), and Jane Greenwood (b. 1934). Additionally, Hepburn’s “signature look,” an ensemble of tailored beige trousers and linen jackets, will be featured, along with vintage posters, playbills, photos, and related artifacts illustrating Hepburn’s remarkable career.
The American Spirit: Public Art from the Great Depression
June 19, 2021- September 6, 2021
The American Spirit: Public Art from the Great Depression features artwork that was produced under the Public Works of Art Project (PWAP), a New Deal relief program that brought employment to artists during the Great Depression. The goal of the PWAP was not only to give artists an opportunity to earn money, but also to furnish and beautify public spaces with artwork and to raise public morale during the greatest economic depression in American history.
The PWAP ran from 1933 to 1934 and employed 3,749 artists at the expense of over $1.5 million (over $27.5 million today) in federal funds. Artists were given complete creative freedom, and the only requirement was that their art relate to the theme of the “American Scene.” Over the duration of the project, PWAP artists created a grand total of 15,663 artworks, including wall murals, oil paintings, watercolors, prints and drawings, sculptures, textiles, and many other art forms. This art was then disbursed to public schools, orphanages, libraries, museums, and other public buildings.