There are roadside attractions in Philadelphia, although most of them are best enjoyed on foot. The public outdoor art installations we saw in Philadelphia thoroughly charmed me, because there are quite a few BIG pieces!
Claes Oldenburg sculpture in Philadelphia, PA
I’ve become a fan of Swedish American sculptor Claes Oldenburg, best known for his public art installations worldwide which feature immense replicas of familiar objects. He thinks BIG!
Of course, our first order of business in Philadelphia was seeing Clothespin — the world’s largest clothespin — created by Oldenburg in 1976. It’s located in Centre Square Plaza on Market Street across from the City Hall, which happens to be the largest municipal building in the U.S. The 45-ft. tall clothespin was made from 10 tons of Cor-Ten and stainless steel.
The Paint Torch is Oldenburg’s most recent work in Philly, and was just installed on Cherry Street last year. This four-ton brush is five stories tall! It looks like an artist has jammed it at a 60 degree angle into the sidewalk, leaving a blob of paint on the ground. We didn’t get to see it at night, but the paint on the brush and the paint blob are lit from within by synchronized LEDs.
We also didn’t get to see the other oversized Oldenburg piece in Philadelphia — the 16-foot Split Button in Levy Park on the University of Pennsylvania campus. Next time!
The Board Game Art Park, Philadelphia, PA
We had no choice but to visit Municipal Services Building Plaza at 15th Street and John F. Kennedy Boulevard on a rainy morning. But we still enjoyed visiting the Board Game Art Park, home to the multi-piece installation, “Your Move,” created in 1997 by artists Daniel Martinez, Renee Petropoulis, and Roger White.
Spread over the concrete square were oversized sculpted game pieces from familiar board game classics like Monopoly, Sorry, Parcheesi, dominoes, checkers and chess.
Other BIG things we found in Philadelphia
The Comcast Experience Video Wall — the world’s largest four-millimeter LED screen.
The giant walk-through heart – the largest of its kind in the U.S. – at the Franklin Institute.