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February 4, 2015

The Leonard Pearlstein Gallery is breaking the rules of the traditional art-viewing experience with a new kind of gallery tour. On February 18 at 7:00pm, four of the city’s top poets from The Philadelphia Pigeon will present Verbal Sculpture: A Poetic Gallery Tour. Verbal Sculpture is a “tour-performance” of the current exhibition Are We There Yet?, which features Chakaia Booker’s large-scale discarded tire sculptures. The poetry performance, which is free and open to the public, is the Gallery’s second poetry residency.

Poets from The Philadelphia Pigeon, a local nonprofit poetry organization, will create spoken word pieces that engage with Booker’s evocative works, creating a responsive dialogue about environmental, sociological and civic themes found in the exhibition. Each poet will establish a creative relationship with one piece to craft its poetic interpretation. Click here to learn more about Chakaia Booker, whose elegant assemblage sculptures explore feminism, racial and economic difference and ecological concerns.

Prior to the performance, a public Open Writer’s Studio will take place in the Gallery at 6:30pm, during which the featured poets will provide prompts based on the exhibition for visitors to engage in a self-directed writing workshop. No registration is required and pens and notebooks will be provided.

The Philly Pigeon’s monthly poetry slam and workshop series hosted at PhilaMoCA have made it a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation grantee and Philadelphia Magazine “Best of Philly” winner. Last year a team of poets from The Philly Pigeon were finalists at the National Poetry Slam. Featured Verbal Sculpture poets include Kai Davis, Kirwyn Sutherland, Lauren Yates and Philly Pigeon co-founder, Jacob Winterstein.

The poems featured in the February 18 performance will be digitally archived and available as an audio tour experience for the remainder of the exhibition, which will be up in the Gallery through March 8 (3401 Filbert Street).

The Gallery’s first poetry collaboration took place in November 2014, when Drexel and Penn student poets participated in a pop-up poetry residency in response to Bill Walton’s minimalist sculptures. The residency included a public reading and a writing workshop that focused on themes and aesthetics in Walton’s work.

For more information, please contact the Pearlstein Gallery at 215-895-2548 or