Two historic museums come together for a transformative exhibition of contemporary art. Join the African American Museum in Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts for Rising Sun: Artists in an Uncertain America, an exhibition of new works examining the provocative and timely question: “Is the sun rising or setting on the experiment of American democracy?”
Curated collaboratively by AAMP and PAFA, Rising Sun is inspired by two independent references of the metaphorical rising sun of America. One from Benjamin Franklin during the 1787 Constitutional Convention where he famously contemplated whether the sun carved in George Washington’s chair was rising or setting and is reported to have said at the end of the Convention, “…But now at length I have the happiness to know that it is a rising and not a setting sun.” More than 100 years later, the symbol of the rising sun appeared again and lives on in James Weldon Johnson’s poem and hymn “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the “The Black National Anthem,” in the line “…Facing the rising sun of our new day begun, let us march on ‘till victory is won.”
Scott (b. 1965) uses performance, installation, video, photography, printmaking and painting to re-envision history, heroism and challenge notions of American patriotism. In 1989, his art became the center of national controversy over its transgressive use of the American flag. Additionally, he became part of a landmark Supreme Court case when he and others defied the federal law outlawing his art by burning flags on the steps of the U.S. Capitol.