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The Weitzman School of Design.

Credit: Caroline Gibson

The Weitzman School of Design announced Wednesday that artists Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley will hold the Keith L. and Kathy Sachs Visiting Professorships for the 2019-2020 academic year.

During their time at Penn, the Kelleys will work primarily with Penn graduate students studying in the Department of Fine Arts, a PennDesign press release stated. They will also hold a public lecture this spring at Penn’s Institute of Contemporary Art and will accompany students on an artistic research trip to Ireland.

The press release cited the Kelleys' video works, many of which explore themes such as social upheaval and feminism through a historical lens. One recent work, Priapus Agonistes (2013), combined the mythical story of the Minotaur with personal memories of watching church volleyball tournaments. Other pieces have responded to Ayn Rand's Objectivist novels and Gwyneth Paltrow's wellness empire Goop. The artists write, produce, and act in the pieces, combining elements of painting, drawing, and carpentry in their set design.

The husband and wife duo's work has been reviewed in numerous national publications, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the New Yorker, and many others. Additionally, their pieces have been featured in solo exhibitions at SITE Santa Fe, the Hammer Museum, and the ICA Boston, as well as on several European tours. 

Keith and Kathy Sachs, the endowers of the namesake professorship, have made several large gifts to the University in the past, most notably a $15 million dollar gift in 2016 to create the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation. 

The professorship was held last year by choreographer and writer Ralph Lemon. Artist Josiah McElheny held the title in 2017-2018, preceded by Egyptian artist and 2001 master's of fine arts graduate Wael Shawky. 

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