Red Grooms’ renowned 1982 sculpto-pictorama, Philadelphia Cornucopia, will be shown for the first time in nearly 30 years as part of the exhibition Happiness, Liberty, Life? American Art and Politics at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. The exhibition will open to the public on June 30th to chcoincide with the 2016 Democratic National Convention.
Philadelphia Cornucopia was commissioned by the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia for the city’s tri-centennial celebration in 1982, following the artist’s groundbreaking 1977 exhibition in New York City: Ruckus Manhattan. Although some of the original elements have been lost, after a six-year restoration effort the installation will feature George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and Thomas Jefferson. When Philadelphia Cornucopia was first shown at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania, the 2,000 sq. ft. sculpto-pictorama made such a strong impact on the public that a small group of enthusiasts were able to raise the funds to acquire the work in order to donate it to the city of Philadelphia. The work was on display at the old Philadelphia Visitor Center from 1982 to 1986 and at 30th Street Station from 1987 to 1989. In 2010 Philadelphia Cornucopia was given to the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts with the hope that it could be restored and displayed once again.