Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Art Museum Tour: Perelman Building


The Perelman Building is actually an extension of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, but it's just too amazing to not give it its own time in the spotlight during our Art Museum Tour.  Originally built for use by the Fidelity Mutual Life Insurance Company, the structure itself boasts the most ornate facades of any Philadelphia building from the 20th century.  Even from its opening in 1927, the building was known as "the Gateway to Fairmont Park" with its twin entrances, Art Deco style, and Egyptian-inspired facades.  Just a visit to this location's exterior is an art experience in of itself.
In 1999, the building was purchased by the City of Philadelphia as an annex of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  The building was renamed the Ruth and Raymond G. Perelman Building in honor of its largest donors, and reconstruction, including a 59,000 square foot addition, began in 2001.   The Perelman Building officially opened to the public in 2007 and has been used to showcase the more cutting-edge collections from the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Upon entering the building, visitors will discover the inside to be just as impressive as the exterior.  Stepping into the main lobby is like stepping back in time with the pattern from the marble floor echoed in its ornate ceiling and a beautiful staircase off to one side.  The elevator is even the original with a gleaming gold interior and a seat and control switch from operators of past days.  Step out of the lobby and into the main hallway, and suddenly the museum takes on an entirely different feel.  It's bright and sleek in a way that brings to mind contemporary California architecture.  The high brick walls and 2nd level catwalks mimic a wide alley between two buildings, while the glass ceilings allow for a shift in the mood depending on the time of the day and position of the sun.  It's pure architectural genius, and you'll find yourself wanting to take pictures of it from every angle and level.
The exhibits are constantly changing and each collection on display is unique, interesting, and definitely worth taking the time to see.  Among the works to see right now include Live Cinema: Fiona Tan: Inventory, a multi-projector visual experience on display until May 11th, Cy Twombly: Sculptures until Spring 2014, and Marc Newson: At Home, an amazing collection from the famous industrial designer there until April 20th.  Marc Newson: At Home, was hands-down our favorite collection during our visit.  With futuristic furnishings for every room in the house, you're going to want to strap on your jetpack and take up residence - don't miss this exhibit!
Besides the art galleries, the Perelman Building is also the location of a vast, historical library open to the public, as well as the Department of Costumes and Textiles and Prints, Drawings, and Photographs, made use of by students and art enthusiasts.  Visitors will also enjoy the café, with a beautiful view of the outdoor terrace, the museum shop located toward the very front of the building, and complimentary coat check on the Ground Floor.  The Perelman Building is opened Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00am to 5:00pm and is included in admission to the Philadelphia Museum of Art (with the first Sunday of every month being Pay As Your Wish).  Museum members enjoy FREE admission to the Perelman Building all year long.


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  1. I need a museum membership. I love that they are transferable to other museums!

  2. My younger 4 kids and I went to ArtSplash at the Perelman last summer. I loved the building, and the kids loved the exhibit and activities. We need to go back.

  3. Totally sounds like my type of museum. And with catwalks! I'd leave the family home and get lost in it :)

  4. I've been in there, it's beautiful.

  5. I really want to go, but no one else in my family wants to. So I will live vicariously through your post!

  6. What an interesting history! I have never been! And now, I want to go so badly:)

  7. I love the way you write and share your niche! Very interesting and different! Keep it coming!
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