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OFF THE WALL: Paint Torch Adds Color and Light to Downtown Philadelphia

Thursday, September 1, 2011

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Now here’s a paint brush for those really big jobs.

But wait, it’s not really a brush. It’s one prominent artist’s interpretation of a paint brush, and his vision is massive in scale indeed.

Artist Claes Oldenburg, who 30-plus years ago brought the Clothespin sculpture to Philadelphia, looked on this past weekend has his new creation, Paint Torch, was carefully put into place in the city’s Lenfest Plaza. When the all-day task was finished, Oldenburg liked what he saw, according to news reports.

 Claes Oldenburg's Clothespin

Bob Krist© 1999 by Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corp.

Clothespin, Oldenburg’s previous contribution to public art in Philadelphia.

“It’s very active even though it’s standing still,” Oldenburg told the Philadelphia Inquirer’s philly.com.

George Young, president of George Young Company, directed the assembly and installation job. His late father installed Clothespin.

“This is made of painted resin,” Young said of 51-foot-tall Paint Torch. “Your have to treat it as if it’s a piece of porcelain.”

The creation, actually made of reinforced plastic, is anchored into a concrete base. The top of the paint brush and a “glob” of paint below are to be lit from within by synchronized LED lights. The lighting give the effect of “breathing,” said Boulder, Colo., artist Jen Lewin, who designed the lighting.

 Claes Oldenburg’s Paint Torch

Photo by Tom Crane/ courtesy of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Paint Torch, artist Claes Oldenburg’s new 51-foot-tall sculpture in downtown Philadelphia.

Paint Torch is said to allude to the creative work of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and to Philadelphia’s role in spreading the light of freedom. The sculpture stands in the new Lenfest Plaza, between the academy’s buildings.

 Claes Oldenburg’s Paint Torch

 Photo by Tom Crane

The philly.com story can be read at Paint Torch. A New York Times slideshow can be seen at Paint Torch Installed.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Artists

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