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Prometheus redone – who stole Dan Reidy’s angel?


Post by Lauren McCarty

Prometheus stole fire from the gods and Zeus punished him by having him bound to a rock while a great eagle ate his liver, little bites at a time. Dan Reidy has brought his metaphorical adaptation of this drama to the Hamilton Hall platforms in front of the University of the Arts. On each of the platforms, a plastic lawn chair is chained to an alabaster boulder. On one side sneakers hang from a wire at the top of a metal pole. One boulder is labeled enigmatically with the initials P.M. R.C.

Dan Reidy’s installation outside Hamilton Hall on South Broad St.

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Stolen angel

The chairs chained to the alabaster boulders relate to Prometheus’ theft and punishment, but a theft has taken place here too. When Reidy installed the work, an adopted, repaired, and doctored angel figurine was placed on a ledge of the building’s façade as part of the installation. At some point the figurine was taken (not by Reidy). This was, according to Reidy, “Very sad, I knew it was at risk, it was part of the idea to have something easily stolen and hope it did not come to pass.” Almost begrudgingly it seems, Reidy has invited theft. If this is so, he certainly must be sympathetic toward the perpetrator since the punishment — sitting in the plastic chairs — is, of course, optional. Of course an angel figurine is also not fire and needless to say, Reidy is not a god.

Dan Reidy’s portrait of a lady with her face “x”ed out

Reidy’s companion exhibit in the UArts Gallery 817 (closed Nov. 5) included paintings and several videos on a small monitor and continued the Prometheus theme. Two paintings in particular, portraits of a man and a woman whose images have been “x”ed out by gold spray paint have a completely inexplicable poignancy.

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Dan Reidy’s installation

Dan Reidy’s work is just that: Inexplicably poignant. And it is best not to worry yourself about translating the equation between the original Prometheus myth and Reidy’s version − because it probably cannot be done. There is however a phone number to call. The following instructions accompany Reidy’s statement next to the outdoor installation: Ring this number for audio, 267-519-5646, #921. Reidy’s Prometheus may be a tragic prankster. In this case, the tragedy is the theft of the poor baby angel, put at risk by Dan Reidy, the prankster.

Dan Reidy lives in Elmira, New York and teaches at the University of the Arts and Corning Community College. Reidy’s Hamilton Hall Platforms are on view through 11/28. Hamilton Hall, 320 S. Broad St., The University of the Arts.

Lauren McCarty is a native Philadelphia artist, a recent graduate of the University of the Arts, and a less recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. For more information visit,  and read her article on Bill Walton’s Studio at Title Magazine.