October 17, 2015 |
If you've wandered along North Broad Street lately, you may be scratching your head at the phalanx of stainless steel columns that have suddenly appeared in the center, marching single-file from Callowhill Street to the North Philadelphia station. Are they modernist WiFi antennas? Props for pole dancers? Or maybe just a vulgar gesture aimed at Center City? The answer is: none of the above. Folks, those 55-foot-tall poles are supposed to be art, of the iconic variety. This misguided project, which has cost the public $14 million, is the combined work of City Hall and Avenue of the Arts , the nonprofit established during the Rendell era to clean up and market Broad Street.
September 18, 2015 |
On Tuesday morning, atop the cinematic steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, officials will unveil a special loan, in honor of Pope Francis - a monumental bilingual version of Robert Indiana's famous LOVE sculpture. AMOR will overlook the Benjamin Franklin Parkway where Pope Francis will conduct his papal Mass on Sunday, Sept. 27. Officials at the Art Museum and the Association for Public Art, who arranged a four-month loan of the colorful six-foot sculpture, noted that amor means love both in Latin, the classic language of the church, and in Spanish, Francis' native language.
September 6, 2015 |
Daniel W. Dietrich II, 73, a self-effacing philanthropist who valued quiet exploration as much as artistic adventure, died Tuesday, Sept. 1, at Paoli Hospital. Mr. Dietrich, who lived in Chester County, was heir to a family conglomerate that once counted Luden's cough drops among its assets. He was vice president of Luden's, based in Reading, for a time, but his tastes ultimately ran more toward cultural activities than business endeavors. A longtime board member and supporter of the University of Pennsylvania's Institute of Contemporary Art, Mr. Dietrich made a bold statement about his interests this year when he gave $10 million to ICA to form an endowment that would enhance the scope and flexibility of the institution's curatorial efforts.
July 25, 2015 |
With imminent renovation of the two-block-long Gallery mall on Market Street, its owners are faced with a vexing problem: What to do about the public art installed decades ago, fruit of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority's Percent-for-Art program? All public art in the Gallery must be removed by the end of November, according to the authority. As of now, none of the work has officially found a new home. One piece is of particular concern to officials - Larry Rivers' massive tile mural, Philadelphia Now and Then , which not only faces homelessness, but has suffered serious damage over the years.
July 3, 2015 |
It seemed to Philadelphia Art Commission members a curious notion: SugarHouse Casino was asking for approval to finance a documentary and annual film festival to meet its mandate to invest in public art. Members were receptive Wednesday, but had questions: How does a $100,000 film about the history of Philadelphia as a onetime motion picture mecca constitute public art? How, unlike the LOVE statue, would it be visible to the public? Would such a project endure for years? "What assurances has the city . . . that this is going to be lasting?"
June 18, 2015 |
Next summer, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway will host a new urban curiosity: glowing, inhabitable sculptures that will carry visitors from City Hall to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The moving illuminants will traverse the concrete jungle as part of an Association of Public Art (aPA) exhibit called Fireflies by Cai Guo-Qiang, a New York-based artist. The exhibit, a world premiere, is made possible in part by a grant from the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage. The grant is for $300,000.
May 31, 2015 |
Artsy. Edgy. Transitional. Distinctive tags describing Old City. But Ted Newbold, who owns a rowhouse here with wife Helen Cunningham, called the area home back when descriptions such as warehouse and fashionable weren't commingled. Newbold, 84, an urban pioneer, is a descendant of Nathan Trotter, founder of Nathan Trotter & Co. Inc., a metal-products company established on Front Street in 1789. In the 1950s, he worked for the firm and lived in Society Hill and on Elfreth's Alley.
May 1, 2015 |
The Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania has received a gift of $10 million to enhance the scope and flexibility of its curatorial efforts, ICA director Amy Sadao announced Wednesday. The gift comes from a longtime ICA supporter and board member, the philanthropist and collector Daniel W. Dietrich II. The gift, which doubles the institute's endowment, is the second instance of Dietrich-funded cultural philanthropy to come to light this week. On Monday, the Association for Public Art announced that Dietrich had donated funds to acquire sculptor Roxy Paine's silvery Symbiosis , which has been temporarily installed near the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The tree-like stainless steel sculpture will now remain permanently in place.
April 29, 2015 |
The shimmering silver broken tree, a monumental sculpture by the artist Roxy Paine that has been on view near the Philadelphia Museum of Art for nearly a year, has been acquired by the Association for Public Art and will remain permanently installed, association officials announced Monday afternoon. The acquisition was made possible by a grant from the Daniel W. Dietrich II Trust. Penny Balkin Bach, the association's executive director, said that "sometimes dreams come true" - the dream, in this case, being acquisition of what the internationally known Paine calls Symbiosis.
December 18, 2014 |
A few years ago, Jerry Jackson's math students at Olney's Grover Washington Jr. Middle School had problems understanding the coordinate grid. X-axis, Y-axis, it didn't matter. They couldn't get their heads around plot points floating in space. Then artist Ben Volta joined Jackson in the classroom with city maps - another sort of grid. Soon, the students were charged with finding and marking meaningful places on their maps, like Grandma's house, the airport, the Liberty Bell, the school.