When we asked Philadelphia art experts to give us suggestions for our public art map, THEartblog's Roberta Fallon was high on our list. Fallon and partner Libby Rosoff founded the Zero .1% for Art Commission in 2003, and started writing theartblog as part of their mission to popularize art and bring ordinary folks into what often seems like a rarefied world. Theartblog is an addictive read Here's her list of picks to add to the mix.
1. I went to the Barnes and saw this poster (above), made presumably by the street artist(s) who embeds those curious figures in the roadways (à la the Toynbee artist). It seemed a pretty serious attempt to join the street aesthetic to the city's new high art temple.
2. Colored water in the city's fountains. This makes me smile and sigh with happiness whenever I see it—pink, green, blue, violet...color in the fountains is whimsical, temporary, and a complete surprise. Its content is fluffy as cotton candy, populist, and I believe it connects with the public directly, which is good.
3. Milord La Chamarre by Jean Dubuffet. The piece is terrific and has a sad history. Brought here from New York by Jack Wolgin for the Centre Square building and sited in the atrium indoors, it was moved outside when the building was sold later to a location that I call the "dunce corner." This great piece is up on a lift, off the ground, and I bet nine out of 10 people who walk by there don't see it. It's a work by a major 20th-century artist, and it's shameful it's sited so badly. From a Stephan Salisbury article in the Inquirer in 2009:
Wolgin's lead tenant, the First Pennsylvania Bank, wanted conventional statuary to grace the building. "The First Pennsylvania people told him, 'We want a general on a horse,' " recalled Robert Weinberg, Wolgin's attorney. "He told them, 'No. You're getting a clothespin.' "
Claes Oldenburg's now-famous Clothespin was erected as part of the project. Wolgin also commissioned a giant steel sculpture by Jean Dubuffet, Milord la Chamarre, to rise from the lower levels of the Centre Square atrium.
?In the early 1980s, Wolgin sold Centre Square and the new owners decided to spruce up the interior. The atrium was redesigned and Milord was moved outside to Market Street, where it still stands.
· Dubuffet takes Manhattan [artblog]
· News-ettes [artblog]
· Art-O-Rama: An Admittedly Idiosyncratic Map of Philadelphia's Public Art [CPHI]