Body Language: The Art of Larry Day


Exhibition Artists

Larry Day

About the Exhibition

This exhibition celebrates Larry Day (1921-1998) in his centenary year, exploring his singular contributions to American art and the lasting power of his observations and imagination. 

Deeply speculative, Day believed that the ordinary in life is the source of all that is extraordinary. His embrace of everyday subjects was tethered to a deeply curious intellectual engagement with the figurative arts and the history of representation. By questioning and reframing prevailing assumptions, he participated in the broad movement in Western thought we now call Postmodernism. 

Day was also a dedicated teacher, known as the "dean of Philadelphia painters." His thousands of students, primarily at the Philadelphia College of Art (now University of the Arts) and the University of Pennsylvania, have gone on to teach across the globe and inspire their own students to discover and explore their unique artistic abilities. 

This ambitious retrospective includes works from the 1950s through the 1990s, and was curated by David Bindman, the artists' longtime friend and Emeritus Professor of the History of Art, University College London and Visiting Fellow at the Hutchins Center, Harvard University. 

This multipart exhibition is on view at three venues. At Woodmere, we offer an overview of Day's career in our Ethel M. Schnader Gallery and a focused presentation of his figurative paintings, drawings, and sketches titled Silent Conversations in our Catherine M. Kuch Gallery (on view through January 23, 2022). At University of the Arts, Nature Abstracted (on view through December 3) presents Day's abstract painting of the 1950s. And at Arcadia University, Absent Presence (on view through November 21) explores Day's cityscape and architectural subjects. 

This exhibition, catalogue, and programming is supported by Ruth Fine, the Imperfect Family Foundation, the Edna W. Andrade Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation, Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation, Elizabeth Glassman, Dorothy Lichtenstein, Terra Foundation for American Art, The Lunder Foundation-Peter & Paula Lunder Family, Leslie Samuels & Augusta Gross, Muriel Fine Sherman & Dr. Neil Sherman, Pamela & Joseph Yohlin, Michael Heizer Studio, Gloria Spivak, Norman Fein, Susan Sillins, Judith Brodsky, Ronald Rumford, and several other generous contributors, including those who wish to remain anonymous.

Click here to purchase the Body Language: The Art of Larry Day exhibition catalogue in the online museum store.



Exhibition-related Events

September 2 | 6:30 pm | Arcadia University | Conversation with Ruth Fine followed by reception | Click here to view the recorded conversation.

September 25 | 1-4 pm | Woodmere Art Museum | Opening Reception for Body Language: The Art of Larry Day

October 10 | 2 pm | Woodmere Art Museum | Members' Tour of Body Language: The Art of Larry Day

October 16 | 2 pm | Woodmere Art Museum | Body Language: The Art of Larry Day with Ruth Fine | Click here to view the recorded lecture.

October 20 | 2 pm | Online via Zoom | Centennial retrospective of works by Larry Day with Ruth Fine and William Valerio

October 23 | 2 pm | Woodmere Art Museum | "The Living Past": The Art of Larry Day with Patricia Likos Ricci | Click here to view the recorded lecture.

November 7 | 2 pm | Woodmere Art Museum | On Larry Day: A Conversation with Phong Bui

November 11 | 5-7 pm | University of the Arts | Reception

January 13 | 7 pm | Online via Zoom | A Game of Charades Roundtable Discussion | Click here to view the recorded lecture.

January 22 | 2 pm |Online via Zoom| Curator's Talk: The Art of Larry Day with David Bindman | Click here to view the recorded lecture.


Larry Day in the News


The exhibition has been featured in the latest episode of Woodmere's podcast, Diving Board. To subscribe and listen, click here.