News Release

Ree Morton: The Plant That Heals May Also Poison

First U.S. Museum Retrospective of Influential Artist Ree Morton in Over Three Decades Opens Fall 2018 at the Institute of Contemporary Art. Survey Features Over 40 Works, Including Rarely Seen Seminal Installations, Shedding Light on Morton’s Short but Prolific Career.

March 12, 2018

Opening on September 14, 2018, the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania (ICA) will present the first major retrospective in the U.S. in nearly forty years of pioneering artist Ree Morton (1936 – 1977) before it begins traveling across the United States. Spanning the last decade of her artistic production before her untimely death, Ree Morton: The Plant That Heals May Also Poison (on view until December 24) will feature her most significant work, comprising over 40 drawings, sculptures, paintings, and installations. Steeped in autobiographical references and memories, the exhibition provides a unique opportunity to connect to a ground-breaking artist whose radical infusion of narrative, color, craft, theatrical imagery, and humor expanded the boundaries of the post-minimalist movement she was rooted in, influencing younger generations of artists and forging a feminist legacy. In advance of the exhibition, artists, curators, and scholars will gather for “Using the Self to Imagine the World”—a two-day symposium taking place at ICA on March 16 and 17 dedicated to reexamining Morton’s enduring impact.

“This exhibition marks the first time in generations that audiences in Philadelphia and from across the U.S. will have an opportunity to experience the captivating and innovative work of Ree Morton. This city formed an integral role in shaping and developing Morton’s practice and career, first as a student and then as a teacher at the Philadelphia College of Art, and ICA was an early and avid supporter of Morton, creating a collaborative relationship that included commissioning and exhibiting her work in the early 70s,” said Amy Sadao, Director of ICA. “The Plant That Heals May Also Poison reflects our commitment to illuminating the pioneering work of under-recognized artists whose work merit reappraisal and placing them within a new, contemporary context.”