Post-mortem Lichtenstein rises in Philly

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Alerted by this morning’s paper, we set out for a quick look at the Roy Lichtenstein megasculpture newly sited at 17th and Sansom streets in Center City Philadelphia. “Brushstroke Group,” a witty take on brush-stroke marks in three dimensions, were placed there by the law firm of Duane Morris in cooperation with the Lichtenstein Foundation. The site although outdoors in front of the law firm itself, is a private plaza.

We had to see if it was visible, what was visible, what was blocking the view, and where the good viewing sites were going to be.

The thing is so big that a 4-foot wall is not much of an impediment for sightlines, except there’s a little dab of “paint” down near the ground that may be out of view once the construction is done.

Right now, hurricane fences and piles of dirt busy up the vista. In our picture there are also two lookers in the way–not that we mind. Anyway, the construction meant we didn’t get much of a view.

Given that outsider-art collector Sheldon Bonovitz, a member of Duane Morris, is behind the Lichtenstein deal, Roberta couldn’t help but wonder why didn’t they put up a Vollis Simpson instead (see Rob Matthews’ photos in front of a law firm that did just that.

Although we in Philadelphia have reason to be wary of post-mortem sculptures based on models (oy, ow, that awful kite and key), at first glance, “Brushstroke Group” has the Lichtenstein Pop verve and lots of juicy color, simplified with trademark comic-books styling–something easy to identify, sort of like a clothespin.

We had to postpone the search for good viewpoints when Roberta had a car emergency that required AAA and all her attention. We’ll return after the construction is done, and, after weighing the thing on the scales of artblog justice, let you know the best sites for viewing. If we can’t get a unified view from the sidewalk, we will be asking one of our favorite public art questions–what’s the use?lichtenstein, roy

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