Friday, January 16, 2015

Art Review: Peter Blume's Visions at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts

By Ken Johnson
“The Eternal City” (1934-37) Credit Educational Alliance, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, Estate of Peter Blume/Licensed by VAGA, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York
PENNSYLVANIA---For many years one of the most memorable artworks displayed in the permanent collection galleries of the Museum of Modern Art was “The Eternal City” (1934-37) by Peter Blume. A weird, technically dazzling mix of Magic and Social Realism on which the artist worked for nearly three years, it offers a comically nightmarish view of Rome under the Fascist reign of Mussolini. An emaciated Jesus surrounded by shiny ritual objects sits in an electrically lit window of a stone building to the left. With myriad more details to examine and a superabundance of sacred and profane symbolic meanings to ponder, “The Eternal City” still arrests eye and mind, and it’s the high point of “Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis,” an exceptionally intriguing if uneven survey at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. [link

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: “Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis” (Ends through April 5);  128 North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA; 215-972-7600;