February 6-12, 2003
On The Edge Of Your Seat: Popular Theatre and Film in Early Twentieth-Century American Art
From eBay to private dealers, from Manhattan to Modesto; the market for vintage film and theater ephemera -- including individually painted cinema posters, vaudeville ads, song sheets, old film reels and release-date tchotchkes -- has gone through the roof. Why not? From Dali to Cocteau, from the cornball '30s to the film noir '40s to the swinging mod '60s, the art of cinema and theater reflects on our culture as well as its respective time and genre. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) responds to the frenzy with "On The Edge Of Your Seat: Popular Theatre and Film in Early Twentieth-Century American Art," an interactive exhibit of the technical and totemic aspects of event art from the turn of the 20th century to the Depression. Led by PAFA alums Robert Henri and William Glackens, the Ashcan School of theater/cinematic arts became a dark world of sensual delights, nauseatingly gaudy abstractions of the vaudeville revue spectaculars whose decline came with cinema's rise. The pictures may not be as pretty as they seem (as in Henri's
On The Edge Of Your Seat: Popular Theatre and Film in Early Twentieth-Century American Art, Feb. 8-April 20, $5-8, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, 118 N. Broad St., 215-972-7600.