Friday, March 21, 2008

Public Art - Philadelphia

I was originally going to include public art in Philadelphia as part of my Philadelphia Scenes series but I've got photos of public art in Houston (where I live now) and some other cities, so I decided to start a new series.

Love - Robert Indiana (1978)

According to Wikipedia this image was originally created by Indiana for a US postage stamp in 1973. This statue version was created in 1978. There apparently are many versions of this statue around the world (Wikipedia lists 16). It may just be my Philadelphia chauvinism showing, but I believe that this version is the first. Robert Indiana failed to copyright the image, allowing it to be used by anyone. And it is a popular image. It can be found on coffee mugs, Christmas cards, and jewelery. I took this photo in June 2006. The fountain behind it is the Ellen Phillips Memorial Fountain. The Love statue is located on the northwest corner of 15th and JFK Boulevard. It is just across the street from City Hall and little park it is located in is the southern anchor of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

The next picture is taken from the observation deck of City Hall showing the Parkway. Toward the bottom is the fountain and the statue is directly in front of it between the two clumps of trees on the edge of the fountain. Click on the picture for a better view. At the far end of the Parkway is the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Clothespin Claus Oldenburg (1976)

Philadelphia, as do I'm sure, many other cities, has a public art law which requires that large buildings in the downtown area spend some portion of the building cost to erect public art. It was under that law in which this statue by Claus Oldenburg was commissioned. It is located on the north side of Market at 15th street. Like the Love statue, it too is across the street from City Hall but in a different direction. I took the photo about 10 minutes after the Love photo. I couldn't find out any more than basic facts about Clothespin. I remember that it wasn't well liked when it was installed. I don't know how Philadelphians feel about it today, but I always liked it. I remember that the Clothespin was orange when it was first installed but I'm probably wrong.

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