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#PHL PUBLIC ART

GroundSwell is committed to showcasing how the arts positively impact our communities, and Philadelphia’s vast collection of public art is an integral part of the Philadelphia landscape that enhances our surroundings and is part of the fabric of the city! Each week we will spotlight one of the great pieces of public art that lives in our city. Today, we spotlight Philadelphia’s “Clothespin” sculpture by Claes Oldenburg.

Installed in 1976, the 45-foot high Clothespin sculpture, stands tall at the west side of City Hall on Market Street. As a well-known pop artist, Oldenburg was approached to create something unique for the City of Philadelphia after he completed a 24-foot tube of lipstick in 1969 at Yale. Oldenburg said he got the idea from a poster the Philadelphia Art Museum used four years earlier to promote an exhibition of his work. But other things also seemed right as well, he told the Philly Post in a 2011 interview: "The stainless steel clasp, when you looked at it, was really a seven and a six. It also had a distant reference to the Liberty Bell, with the flowing-out at the bottom and a crack in the middle where the two parts meet.

Over the years, the piece has become a classic and like any piece of great art, is up for interpretation of what it may resemble: two lovers entwining? Slender legs of people hustling to work in the city? Or a pair of chop sticks? Whatever your eyes may see when looking at the piece, one thing is clear - it is a true Philadelphia icon. In 2011, Philadelphia once again called on Oldenburg to transform an everyday object into a beautiful piece of art. The result: the Paint Torch that lives in Lenfest Plaza along Broad Street in front of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

Tell us your favorite piece of Public Art and it may appear in a blog post!