The blog of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
A brand new piece of Philadelphia public art is set to be unveiled this spring by Berlin-based visual artist Katharina Grosse and courtesy the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. This Knight Arts grantee and the world-renowned painter will be installing the large-scale, site-specific work along the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor between the Amtrak 30th Street Station and North Philadelphia station. The installation will be seen by scores of SEPTA and Amtrak commuters daily as they travel between New York City and Washington, D.C.
Katharina Grosse. Photo by Stefan Klüter
Grosse is a major name in contemporary painting, and is known for her bright color choice and fusion of painting, sculpture and architecture. For this yet unnamed piece of Philly public art, Grosse will utilize a spray-paint technique to line the highly visible, but as of now unused passageway with vibrant colors.
The work is planned to transform with time as viewers rumble by on the trains that carry them through the area. By viewing the work through the frames of the vehicles' windows, the passages will coalesce into a real-time landscape with shifting perspective, scale and time as the travelers pass by toward their destinations. This bout of painted choreography will take viewers on a journey through space and time, as well as images invoking the power of nature, urban decay and our place in modern cities.
Reaching an audience of an estimated 34,000 commuters every single day, the installation will be a chance to expose countless individuals to the beauty of contemporary art by transforming a routine train ride into a moving, changing artistic experience. Aside from the imaginative voyage that train passengers will embark on, sections of the lengthy painting will also be visible to many others from various vehicle and pedestrian bridges. A detailed map and viewing guide will be available at a later date.
Supported by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, this ambitious public art venture also serves to mark the 30th anniversary of the Mural Arts Program, the nation's largest mural program. By shifting the boundaries of what in the public sphere can be, this project will open up audiences to new interpretations of what art can be and how it can affect us in our everyday lives. “We expect that this work will surprise and provoke our traditional audiences as well as new ones — and spark new conversations and directions,” says Executive Director Jane Golden.
Keep up to date with the project as it is created and revealed through the spring of 2014. More details about projects, lectures and events surrounding the artwork are forthcoming.
The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program office is located at 1727-29 Mt. Vernon St., Philadelphia; firstname.lastname@example.org; muralarts.org.