The City has published a nifty, highly portable reference guide to public art around Center City, Fairmount Park and University City. The idea behind A Guide to Philadelphia’s Public Art, which is organized geographically, is that you can pick an area in the city to explore, and then take a self-guided walking tour with the book in hand and learn something about all the existing sculptures in our environment.
When the redesign of LOVE Park is complete, the already-futuristic-looking Welcome Center will look even more like a hovering spacecraft thanks to a $230,000 art installation that will have red, yellow and green lights beaming from its ceiling.
The project — a ceiling mural called Chromoscope — was dreamed up by Seattle-based art duo Haddad|Drugan (Laura Haddad and Tom Drugan). It keeps in tact the pavilion’s lantern-like lighting scheme, but adds in layers of colorful aluminum panels to create a funky abstract design made up of patterns and symbols inspired by Philly’s artistic and local history.
The lighting and design work together to create a different experience depending on the time of day or what color is illuminating the ceiling. In the daylight or when white light is used, for instance, all of the layered images will be visible at once, really showcasing the abstract design as a whole. When the sun sets, however, the “pattern becomes animated and kaleidoscopic with the projection of colored light onto the ceiling,” reads a description from Creative Philadelphia. Each of those colors will bring out different patterns in the design.
It’s Veterans Day, the occasion on which we honor the men and women who serve and have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. Over the weekend, the city staged what it billed as its First Official Annual Veterans Day Parade, which it may have been but which didn’t hold a candle to the World War I homecoming parade for the 28th Division on May 15, 1919, which drew two million visitors to the city (no special TransPasses needed!). The city overflows with monuments and memorials to America’s soldiers. Most days, we pass them by. Today, we pause to salute these, our 10 favorites. Read more »
Going with the idea of our city being on a world stage while Pope Francis and the World Meeting of Families are in town this week, the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Association for Public Art will unveil a Spanish/Latin edition of Robert Indiana’s famous Love statue on Tuesday morning. This one reads in similarly designed, red, six-foot-high, aluminum letters: Amor.
Placed prominently on the east terrace, the Spanish/Latin version of the culturally iconic pop sculpture is sure to photo-bomb its way into lots of the papal coverage during this week’s festivities with its message of red-hot love. It faces the parkway toward its english-speaking counterpart, Indiana’s Love sculpture, in JFK Plaza, (aka Love Park), across from City Hall.
Philly artist Stephen Layne’s 12-foot-tall, 1,800-pound Joe Frazier statue has been bronzed and is finally ready to be erected in its permanent home at Xfinity Live. It will be unveiled in a special ceremony next month.
The statue captures the former heavyweight boxing champion mid-punch. It was modeled after a photograph of the moment Frazier floored Muhammad Ali to win the heavyweight title in 1971. Layne, who attended and taught at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, says he chose that pose because of the way it represents Philadelphia. “The moment captured in the sculpture reflects the work ethic of Frazier and the city he called home,” he says.
I don’t have great taste in art. Or, maybe even worse, I don’t have any taste in art.
I have a couple of nice pieces courtesy of friends and family who haven’t yet realized their work is too good to give to me. But, left to my own devices, I gravitate toward the Basic Bitch Trifecta when decorating my walls: beaches, dogs and inspirational quotes. Part of me still misses my freshman dorm’s super-cheesy Audrey Hepburn print (another part of me misses it so bad that it’s in my Ikea shopping cart).
And so I’m never quite sure how to feel about some of Philly’s more abstract art. Is an oversized electrical plug art? Probably, considering it ended up in the Art Museum’s sculpture garden. How about a plastic, swirled dollop of paint? Perhaps. What if you dress up the dollop to look like the poo emoji? I’m going to go with definitely, but like I said, what do I know? Read more »
Like all old, rich colleges, the University of Pennsylvania has a ton of stupid traditions. Many of them are steeped in history — the day where Penn juniors carry canes and wear fake straw hats dates to 1937 — and others are more recent.
Here’s one that’s less than 30 years old: It’s tradition to pee on the statue of Benjamin Franklin that sits at 36th Street and Locust Walk. The statue of Franklin sitting on a bench went up in 1987.
It’s quite popular, though: Six people have been caught doing it already this year. Other urinators, and they no doubt exist, have escaped detection by Penn Police. Pee for Pennsylvania! Public urination on public art!
Edward “Babe” Heffron and William “Wild Bill” Guarnere — two World War II heroes from South Philly immortalized in the book and miniseries Band of Brothers — will be honored with bronze statues somewhere in the city.
Heffron’s statue will be near where he grew up, at the Herron Playground at 2nd and Reed streets in South Philly. It will be dedicated next year. Guarnere, who lost a leg in the Battle of the Bulge, will get a statue likely near the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Philadelphia Korean War Memorial in Center City. Family and friends of the two men raised the money for these statues separately.
Yesterday a beloved sculpture was restored to its proper place in Fairmount. Carl Milles’ “Playing Angels” have danced and played in the grass above Kelly Drive since 1972 and recently received a long-awaited makeover.
The Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (Creative Philadelphia) had the “Playing Angels” fully restored and reengineered their anchoring system, so now they can be enjoyed for decades to come. The angels were cast from a group of five originals created by the famous Swedish sculptor around 1950, which currently reside in Millesgården, overlooking Sweden’s Stockholm harbor.
According to the Association for Public Art, the five casts were originally headed for a private site in Philadelphia. When plans fell through, one angel headed to Kansas City and another to Virginia. The Association for Public Art (then called the Fairmount Park Art Association) bought the other three in 1968 and installed them four years later.
The playful bronze casts sit lightly atop concrete pedestals – similar to those at Millesgården – giving them the appearance of flight. Now the “Playing Angels” can once again be seen frolicking in the sky while they make their music where Kelly Drive meets Fountain Green Drive, overlooking the Schuylkill River.