‘Wandering Rome’: A New Exhibition at the Arthur Ross Gallery

The Arthur Ross Gallery of the University of Pennsylvania presents A View of One’s Own—Three Women Photographers in Rome: Esther Boise Van Deman, Georgina Masson, Jeannette Montgomery Barron, on view Aug. 11-Dec. 10.

Organized in the fall of 2016 by the American Academy in Rome, the exhibition features photographs by American women in Rome from three different generations, documenting the Eternal City and its urban transformation spanning more than a century, from the Belle Époque to today. The photographs also tracks the emergence of photography as an independent medium, evolving from a documentary aid to a vehicle for subjective, even gendered expression in the digital age. The Arthur Ross Gallery is the exclusive U.S. venue for this exhibition.

“The Arthur Ross Gallery is very pleased to collaborate with the American Academy in Rome to present for the first time in the U.S. these rare and insightful photographs by three groundbreaking women photographers,” said Arthur Ross Gallery Director Lynn Marsden-Atlass.

Drawn from the Photographic Archive of the American Academy in Rome, A View of One’s Own features three American protagonists: archaeologist Esther Boise Van Deman, who photographed Rome and its surroundings in the early 1900s; Georgina Masson, author of the classic guidebook, The Companion Guide to Rome, that has shaped foreigners’ experiences of Rome since the 1950s; and contemporary photographer Jeannette Montgomery Barron, whose images capture glimpses of Rome as seen by an American living abroad in the Eternal City, folding them into a wandering, meditative reverie.

Seen in succession against a photographic landscape of Rome defined for the most part by men, these images posit another way of viewing the city’s history. Taken by female flâneurs, empirical observations of bricks and mortar progressively dissolve into pure, evanescent experience.

“The work of these three photographers reflects different periods in the evolution of the modern city of Rome and the history of photography itself,” said Mark Robbins, president of the American Academy in Rome. “The presentation at the Arthur Ross Gallery of the University of Pennsylvania brings these images to new audiences and underscores the continuing impact of the city of Rome in our conception of the past and the future.”

A View of One’s Own, curated by Lindsay Harris, Peter Benson Miller, and Angela Piga, is accompanied by a comprehensive, fully illustrated catalogue, published by the American Academy in Rome, with essays by Robbins, André Aciman, and the curators. Marsden-Atlass organized the exhibition at the Arthur Ross Gallery, which will be accompanied by a variety of related programming:

Wednesday, Sept. 6 @ 5:30 p.m
Lecture: “A View of One’s Own: Women, Walking, and Photography in Rome” by Peter Benson Miller, Andrew Heiskell Arts Director, American Academy in Rome

Wednesday, Oct. 4 @ 5:30 p.m
Lecture: “Watching the Light in Rome” by Dean Frederick Steiner, University of Pennsylvania School of Design and Paley Professor (1998 AAR Fellow)

Friday, Oct. 20 @ 12:00 p.m
Concert: Daedalus Quartet perform Beethoven’s Quartet no. 6 in Bb major, Op. 18 no. 6 and Quartet no. 7 in F major, Op. 59 no. 1

Wednesday, Oct. 25 @ 5:30 p.m.
Conversation: Kaja Silverman and Clifford Ross
Join us for an exciting evening with Kaja Silverman, Sachs Professor in Contemporary Art, and photographer and artist Clifford Ross.

Wednesdays, Oct. 11 and November 8 @ 2:00 PM
ART RESET with Lauren Altman, MFA ‘18
Coffee and conversation

Wednesday, Oct. 18 @ 6:30 PM
Film Screening: “Louis Kahn’s Tiger City” Talk back with Sundaram Tagore

Every First Wednesday, Sept. 6, Oct. 4, Nov. 1 and Dec. 6 @ noon
12 @ 12: A Tasty Art Nugget in 12 Minutes Flat!

The exhibition is made possible in part by Richard Baron and Adi Shamir Baron.

Additional support is provided by Mrs. Arthur Ross, the Patron’s Circle of the Arthur Ross Gallery, the Provost’s Interdisciplinary Arts Fund, the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

To learn more about the Rome Prize, Italian Fellowship or programs at the American Academy in Rome, please visit: www.aarome.org.

The Arthur Ross Gallery is located at 220 South 34th Street, Philadelphia (located in the Fisher Fine Arts Library Building), and is free and open to the public.

HOURS: Weekdays 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Weekends Noon-5 p.m. Closed Mondays. To reserve a group tour please contact us at sabrady@upenn.edu or 215-898-3617. 

Additional information is available here or 215.898.2083

Wandering Rome