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The Kimmel Center Unveils New Theater, Exhibit

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("The Slow and Inevitable Death of American Muscle." Credit: The West Collection.)

(“The Slow and Inevitable Death of American Muscle.” Credit: The West Collection.)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Kimmel Center unveils a newly-renovated performance space Thursday, a studio theater where playwrights and musicians will create and present new works, including an unusual art exhibit.

The SEI Innovation Theater will feature emerging artists doing cutting edge shows.

For the big reveal, its patron, SEI founder Al West, is loaning works from his personal collection of over a thousand contemporary artworks.

“Aesthetically, it might not hit your art bone just right but when you really look what the artists are trying to do you really start to understand there’s a lot of brilliance in these pieces of art,” West said.

West is sort of the Albert Barnes of contemporary art and the pieces he’s loaning include, literally, a car wreck.

“The Slow and Inevitable Death of American Muscle” features two cars colliding over the course of the two month installation.

(SEI founder Al West. Credit: SEI)

(SEI founder Al West. Credit: SEI)

Kimmel president Anne Ewers says it fits the ambitions of the space. “It will be very exciting to watch what is truly performance arts as these two cars are pushed and crushed against each other. It’s quite fascinating.”

West says he’s thinking about a museum for his work downtown.

Hear Pat Loeb’s full interview with Al West (runs 3:53)…

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