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Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular Avant-garde

Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular Avant-garde

Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular Avant-garde is the first book to examine Philadelphia's
cultural impact from the 1950s to the Bicentennial. As an interdisciplinary exploration, Invisible City
highlights Philadelphia's unique contributions to visual, literary, and musical culture featuring
significant architects, photographers, sculptors, designers, craftsmen, writers, musicians, painters and
conceptual artists.

The vernacular avant-garde reflects the everyday. From Duchamp's ready-mades to the aesthetics of
Main Street, from American Bandstand to Andy Warhol's inaugural museum exhibit, from Robert
Smithson's earthwork to Robert Venturi's Guild House, Philadelphia was a city of firsts. As a gritty
postindustrial metropolis built of brick and Wissahickon schist, it was central to the concepts of
postmodernism through insights on the social landscape, urban graffiti, and underground theater.
The city produced the earliest Pop Art exhibitions, influential popular music, the country’s
premier rock music magazine, substantial art schools, progressive curators, and the Institute of
Contemporary Art.

These ideas are thoroughly illuminated in nine essays by Rachel Churner, Jennie Hirsh, Sid Sachs,
John Szwed, and Anne Wilke Tucker, augmented with interviews and writings by Willoughby Sharp,
Mierle Laderman Ukeles, Robert Venturi, and Progressive Architecture. Beautifully designed by Studio
LHOOQ, this 304-page catalog is illustrated with 210 images and published by University of
the Arts with funding by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.


Published on the occasion of the exhibition Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular Avant-garde, January 21–April 4, 2020
Invisible City: Philadelphia and the Vernacular Avant-garde is supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage
Published by:
University of the Arts
320 S Broad St
Philadelphia, PA 19102

© University of the Arts, all rights reserved

Edited by Sheryl Conkelton
Designed by Mỹ Linh Triệu Nguyễn, Studio LHOOQ
Printed by Point B Solutions, Minneapolis with Longo, Bolzano