Seraphin Gallery in Philadelphia

December 21, 2017/ by Olivia Ramirez

A stunning new art exhibit has moved into The Yard: Center City in Philadelphia. Curated by Seraphin Gallery, the exhibition features works by Jeff Cylkowski, Michael Morrill, Kate Stewart, and Danielle Cartier. Each floor of The Yard will host a solo show for each of the artists.

We’ll be celebrating the new gallery with an art opening reception on January 11th. RSVP here, and bring a friend!

To get some insight on the new exhibit, we sat down with Seraphin Gallery’s Associate Director, Alyssa Laverda. We spoke about the gallery’s Philadelphia roots (it’s been around for 45 years!), and Alyssa gave us her take on what we should look forward to this season. Take a look:

What inspired the opening of Seraphin, and how has the gallery transformed over the last 45 years?

Seraphin Gallery was founded in 1970 by Director and Principal, Anthony Seraphin.  The Director has been dealing in fine art and treasured objects for forty five years, starting with a collection of Thomas Eakins’ studio photographs from 1883.  He had saved the collection and, proving their worth, was integral in pioneering the first auction of photography at Sotheby’s.

The Director has since set records for artists such as Paul Klee, and Seraphin Gallery has had major exhibitions by major 20th Century artists Larry Rivers, Grace Hartigan, and Leon Golub.  While the gallery has a long history of secondary market dealing and exhibitions, Seraphin Gallery has always also had a growing list of contemporary living artists that we represent, about 85% of which are also represented in prominent museum collections worldwide.

Within the last few years, Seraphin Gallery has enhanced our programming to connect with the Philadelphia community, not just the commercial art sector.  Some of these efforts have been to partner with Art Sphere Inc., a local arts non-profit that provides free art programs to inner city youth at public schools, we have hosted fundraisers for non-profits like Philabundance, we have curated an annual exhibition every summer from our picks of the graduates from the art colleges in the city of that year, and to bring on a team of interns from the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University.

Of course, another great example of this additional programming is our recent partnership with the leadership of The Yard to curate their location in Center City, here in Philadelphia and only a few blocks down 11th street.

What drew you personally to the art world here in Philadelphia?

I’ve always been local to Philadelphia.  After growing up in West Chester, PA, I completed the Coordinated BFA program with the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the University of Pennsylvania—studying painting and art history, respectively.  I was a research assistant with the Institute of Contemporary Art, where I am now a young committee board member, and then briefly helped write grants at a local non-profit before finding a place at Seraphin Gallery.  I’ve been the Associate Director for just over two years.

The art scene in Philadelphia is very exciting and always has been.  From artist collectives and underground art shows, to the commercial gallery scene in Washington Square West and Old City, all the while being surrounded by internationally acclaimed and historic institutions like the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Barnes Foundation, and more contemporary institutions like the ICA Philadelphia and the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia has a lot to offer and is accessible to everyone.

Have you noticed any particular ties between the artworks featured and the city and/or local businesses?

When I first saw Jeff Cylkowski’s work (currently on the second floor at The Yard), it was hanging at the Asian Arts Initiative on 12th and Vine Streets. They have an excellent program for featuring the work of artists of Asian heritage or descent and incorporating the local community.  His works have an intense energy, and the patterns and shapes seem to explode on the panels.  The work definitely speaks to a contemporary Western Asian aesthetic that is really felt in today’s pop art world, much like the manners of KAWS, Takashi Murakami, and Jeff Koons.  Coincidentally, Jeff Cylkowski used to be the studio manager for Jeff Koons’ sculptures.

Can you give us a sneak peek at what our art-loving readers can look forward to this season?

Variation.  The different floors of the Yard are really going to have their own individual voices.  I’m looking forward to these next exhibitions, there’s a mix of emerging and well-established artists like last time and I’m playing around with some interesting trends.  Keep your eyes out for the fourth floor.

Thanks so much, Alyssa. We can’t wait to invite Philadelphia’s community to view these artworks up close at The Yard on January 11th!