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Christopher Knowles's installation "The Sundance Kid is Beautiful."

Credit: Alex Fisher

What do a local Philadelphia artist, a New York based poet and a British photographer have in common? Up through Dec. 27, The Institute of Contemporary Art, located on 36th and Sansom streets, will be featuring these three artists in its fall exhibition.

Becky Suss, Christopher Knowles and Josephine Pryde each bring a different tone and dynamic to the institute’s exhibit. 

ICA Communications associate Becky Huff Hunter said that the fall exhibits don’t necessarily follow a certain theme. “The shows that we have up don’t necessarily relate to each other. Often they can be chosen to rub up against each other rather than complement each other,” she said. 

The exhibitions, according to Hunter, can take anywhere from one to five years to put together. 

“We have a curatorial team that meets every week and the curators bring up their ideas to each other and collaboratively work together," she said. "Our curators travel and do studio visits and reading and research, so there’s a lot of aspects that go into figuring out which artists to bring.”

The artists themselves are varied, spanning a wide range of experience and styles. Becky Suss is a Philadelphia native, born, raised and currently living in the city. The exhibit at ICA is Suss’s first solo museum exhibition. Distinguished by her use of oil and ceramics, Suss’s work documents her grandparent’s suburban home through a perspective that paints a narrative of America through various political and cultural environments, such as Cold War America. Thus, Suss is able to evoke questions of family dynamics, politics and religion in her work.

In complete contrast, Christopher Knowles is a Brooklyn-based artist and poet whose exhibition centers around alarm clocks. His pieces ebb and flow with different color intensities and volumes, featuring sharp edges and optical illusions. There is an element of politics in Knowles’ more recent work, with the names "Trump," "Obama" and "Romney" popping up sporadically throughout his pieces. 

From the other side of the pond, Josephine Pryde’s exhibition at ICA is the British artist’s first in America. Her photographs are notable for their varied lighting and composition, but her gallery varies in content as well, featuring documentary-style footage, polaroid-type snapshots and art photography.

Hunter said that having the ICA so close to campus provides a unique opportunity for Penn students. 

“One thing is that we have contemporary art that you don’t really find in Philadelphia … it’s on the doorstep of Penn’s campus," Hunter said. "We’re free, so there’s not much risk involved. We also offer free, guided tours to Penn students, so that can be a way to deepen your personal experience.”

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