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Our town rediscovers its inner Calder


Hey, did you see yesterday’s Philadelphia Inquirer front-pager on the long lost Calder banners (created for Centre Square)? It’s an instructive lesson on the vagaries of public art and it’s a jolly good sleuthing story, with Susan Davis, ex-director of public art at the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority playing the part of Nancy Drew.

And that’s the second part of the story. I didn’t even know Susan Davis had left her long-held position six weeks ago. I wonder what’s up with that!!!!

And the third part of the story is that this is part of the groundbreaking Jack Wolgin public art legacy at Centre Square (which also includes the Clothespin and Monsieur la Chamarre). The Oldenburg Clothespin, survived, but the Dubuffet got shuffled to a less appropriate spot after much negotiation by later owners of the building. Those same owners misplaced the Calder banners after throwing them into plastic tubs for storage.

Just a reminder–the guy who brought all these great works to Philly, Jack Wolgin, is the guy that just gave megabucks for a major art prize out of Temple!

So this is a story about how public art can be dissed by the arrogant whims of real estate owners, never you mind the public funds invested. I mean these were big name artists who took a fall–Calder and Dubuffet!!! Shameful.