Plateau–two views

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Not everyone agrees about Andrea Blum’s Plateau, an RDA Percent for Art commission on 40th between Walnut and Locust. But even more confusing are claims on whether it’s complete or not and whether the landscaping is complete. My information says yes on both, although I grant that the grass hasn’t come up yet. Here are two posts on the piece. — lr]

Post by Jeanne Pond:


detail of Andrea Blum’s Plateau at night

Regarding your post about the Andrea Blum public art project:

I am on the fine arts committee that works with Susan Davis at the Redevelopment Authority to develop projects under the 1% for art program there. This letter speaks for me only and no one else.

The project about which you write is not completed nor has it been inaugurated officially yet. As with many public art projects and indeed many other aspects of life we know that change does not necessarily guarantee instant love. Clearly this project did not appeal to you.

In my experience change elicits criticism, or indifference, or support from people predictably divided pretty equally between those three responses. Over time the value of a project like this emerges in part by what happens when the space begins to be used regularly whether to walk through or hang out in.

I suspect when the landscaping is complete, and spring has sprung in these parts, and the Penn community wants to be outdoors for talking and eating–this piece of public art will be well used. I would ask you how many other outdoor seating areas are appealing at this time of year? A few maybe, but certainly not all. Thanks for keeping the community informed about what is happening in art and I encourage you to check in on this project once it is in place for awhile!

–Jeanne Pond is an arts management consultant and curator

Post by Dayton Castleman:

The stunning bit to me is that the work is complete! I was in the area recently, on the main campus side of that area, I saw the sign announcing the work, and I simply assumed it wasn’t finished yet! Seeing what was there from a distance, I drew no closer than 100 yards from the actual piece. It certainly doesn’t embody anything that motivates curiosity… It is a shame, because Susan Davis IS the nicest person on the planet! Perhaps the foliage will help! To her credit, she led the committee that selected my latest in-progress installation, and I think it’s pretty rad! ; -)

–Sculptor Dayton Castleman has updates on his upcoming installation at his blog, Dayton is not in Ohio

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