Last-Minute Art Getaways: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art

The starchitect has been brought in to quietly modernize Philly's core institution.

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Philadelphia Museum of Art rendering
Frank Gehry- Philadelphia Museum of Art rendering
A cross-section view showing the changes to the existing interior spaces and the new underground galleries, Rendering © Gehry Partners, LLP
Philadelphia Museum of Art rendering
Lenfest Hall, Rendering © Gehry Partners, LLP
Philadelphia Museum of Art rendering
The heart of the Museum will be opened up, creating a clear sight line through the ground-floor and first-floor galleries that will greatly simplify wayfinding, Rendering © Gehry Partners, LLP
Philadelphia Museum of Art rendering
The new underground galleries will be lit in part by a skylight in the East Terrace, Rendering © Gehry Partners, LLP
Philadelphia Museum of Art rendering
The vaulted underground walkway, long closed to visitors, will become a space for art and events, with entrances at the north (Kelly Drive) and south (Schuylkill River) sides of the building, Rendering © Gehry Partners, LLP

So you woke up late on the weekend, and need to get out of the city to see some art, but you haven’t had time to plan. No problem: We’ve done the research for you. Here’s our pick for a great emergency art getaway this week:

What:Making a Classic Modern: Frank Gehry’s Master Plan for the Philadelphia Museum of Art,” architect Frank Gehry’s designs for the expansion of the Philadelphia Museum of Art are the heart of this exhibition, which opened July 1. The starchitect, known for his swooping futuristic designs for the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao (1997), and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles (2003), will be rethinking this 1928 Philly landmark that looms above Benjamin Franklin Parkway. While he is known for his flamboyant designs, with this design, the challenge, he has said, is to do something that’s quieter, and “virtually hidden.” Do you think he’s achieved that? See for yourself?

When: Through September 1, 2014. Tuesday through Sunday: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Where: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Why: Because there’s been a lot of talk about the new Gehry expansion to the classically structured museum. It’s time to have an opinion about the planned changes to the museum, including the famed steps climbed by Rocky Balboa in the movie Rocky, part of which will be taken out and replaced by a window looking into the galleries.

How: From Penn Station, via Acela Express, it takes a little over an hour to get there, and train fare can be as low as around $50. It’s slightly longer by car. (Getting there by New Jersey Transit, via Trenton, takes a little longer, but is also much cheaper.)

Perks: You can stop in at Pat’s for a cheesesteak. Or, if cheesesteaks are not your thing, there’s plenty of great restaurants to check out. Philly is a foodie’s heaven.

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