It may be one of the most un-Philadelphian things about us: We love the art of Claes Oldenburg, and our blood boils whenever we hear some fool remarking how he “could have done that.” “Yes, but you didn’t,” is the rejoinder for the ages during this argument. (This, in a city where there is so much truly bad public art, is always a little galling.) There is a fiendish “simplicity” in Oldenburg’s work, and we regard the man’s two major works that are already here, Clothespin and Split Button, as both major points of civic pride and works that are linked spiritually to The Philadelphia Smirk — our only real birthright, as it were. So let’s make a threesome, then: On Thursday, July 8, Oldenburg will be in town to discuss a new work he’ll be producing for Lenfest Plaza, the new development adjoining the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Not much is publicly known about the work yet, other than “the new commission for PAFA will involve the transformation and enlargement into architectural scale of a common object selected for its relation to a specific site.” So, it’ll be another big thing. We shall leave it to you to speculate exactly what thing that will be in the comments.
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