Susanna W. Gold, Ph.D.

Curator • Art Advisor • Art Historian

Ron Tarver


Sept 2  –  Oct 9


In his current body of work, Ron Tarver, Recent Guggenheim Fellow, Pulitzer Prize winner & Associate Professor at Swarthmore College, explores his own racial identity and experiences as a Black artist by addressing the problematic nature of Black memorabilia as a decorative art. Most created during the Jim Crow era, these objects present demeaning representations of African Americans through exaggerated facial features such as lips, noses, and hair. The word "shine" also emerged during Jim Crow as a racist slur towards Black people, commenting on African Americans who made a living shining the shoes of white people. Tarver used a large format film camera and printed in black and white on a highly reflective archival paper further emphasizing the shine, or glossy surface, of these objects. While Black memorabilia is widely collected and still being produced, some with very high market values, they represent a legacy of racism and belittlement of a people simply due to skin color.

3rd floor galleries
28 S 2nd St, Philadelphia, PA


M-W: 10am–5pm | Thu-F: 10am-6pm
Sat: 10am-5pm | Sun: 10am-4pm

Curator appointments are advised, but not required