Victoriana Reimagined

March 24 - September 30, 2018
Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion, Philadelphia


Victoriana Reimagined brings new works by three contemporary artists into the Victorian interiors of the historic Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion. Each artist was invited to spend time studying the Mansion and its collections to create a site-specific installation.

Melanie Bilenker is a goldsmith and jewelry artist known for her drawing technique inspired by Victorian miniatures and palette hairwork. Bilenker constructs spare line drawings from strands of her own hair using photo self-portraits as reference. For Victoriana Reimagined, Bilenker has crafted a hairwork tunnel book of her bedroom which is installed within the lady’s bedroom at the Ebenzer Maxwell Mansion. Tunnel books were souvenir novelties common in the Victorian era. This book commemorates the quiet tasks allocated to the late night hours once the house has gone to sleep.

Talia Greene builds on one of the Mansion’s most iconic collection pieces – a grand dining room chandelier decorated with motifs from Aesop’s Fox and the Grapes fable. Greene’s beautiful and complex cut-paper installation thematically explores the complex range of possible readings of the fable. Fox calls from the wild mingle with tinkling cutlery and sounds from around a dinner table, drawing further connections between the fable and this very human experience. 

Greene collaborated with artist Jordan Deal on the sound for this project.

Jacintha Clark activates the Ebenzer Maxwell Mansion's magnificent Steiff piano by replicating popular sheet music out of porcelain in order to explore intersections of musical and cultural traditions, as well as modes of transmission and consumption.

The exhibition opened at the Ebenezer Maxwell Mansion on March 21, 2018 and runs through September 30, 2018. Visitors may view the exhibition as part of the Mansion’s tour schedule on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday afternoons. Tours are offered at 12:15, 1:15, 2:15, and 3:15 pm. Adult tickets are $8 and children under 18 are $6. Reserve tours in advance by calling 215-438-1861 (no advance registration necessary).

Victoriana Reimagined is curated by Heather Moqtaderi.

Read further on the Ebenezer Maxwell Museum website