Annenberg exhibit to salute visual arts

April 8, 2012

Bobbi Booker

The Philadelphia Tribune

Built in 1971, the Annenberg Center’s modern architecture features impressive expanses of unadorned wall space and angular geometry. Its interior white walls offer a neutral backdrop for an artist’s grand vision. This spring, the Annenberg Center will widen its artistic portfolio as it collaborates with Penn Design to present “Art in the House,” a pilot visual arts project featuring new and innovative site-specific works by Penn MFA students Tra Bouscaren and John Schlesinger.

Both artists have exhibited internationally. Bouscaren’s installation unfolds suddenly though the upper and lower walkways of the Annenberg Center that surround the Zellerbach Theater. The installation includes darkly humorous placements of objects, such as a diving board and a tanning bed, in the inner recesses of the lobby. The second installation by Schlesinger blends laboratory and photo equipment with video, photography and steel castings of sentimental objects. It spills over three levels of the building, following the path of a previously installed metallic sculpture made by the modernist designer and artist Harry Bertoia.

Since its inception, the Annenberg Center’s curatorial vision has emphasizes four primary values: artistic integrity, cultural diversity, curatorial balance and a willingness to take risks. By presenting world-renowned and cutting edge artists and companies that express adventuresome perspectives on contemporary issues, timeless ideas and diverse cultures, the Annenberg Center promotes critical thinking and dialogue among its audiences, creating a uniquely rewarding arts experience. With performances and events taking place at the venue throughout the year, the upcoming art exhibition provides theater and concertgoers a new experience in contemporary visual art.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Penn Design on this project,” said Annenberg Center managing director Michael Rose. “The Annenberg Center has a 40-year tradition of celebrating dynamic, boundary-pushing performances, and the visual arts should be a component of what we value as a major university performing arts center. The installation adds new value to the experience we pride ourselves on providing for our concertgoers. We are dedicated to cultivating the thriving cultural community here at Penn and in the city.”

The “Art in the House” installation is free and open to the public, running April 20–June 30 during box office hours (Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m.; Saturday, noon–6 p.m.) at the Annenberg Center, 3680 Walnut St. Visitors are asked to check in with the box office upon arrival. (Times are subject to change.)

Contact staff writer Bobbi Booker at (215) 893-5749 or

The Philadelphia Tribune