Artful Paste-Ups Conceal City Hall Conservation

August 28, 2010 at 1:28 am Leave a comment

Philadelphia’s City Hall recently became a bit more colorful.

Temporary art at City Hall, Philadelphia, 2010. Photo by author.

On Monday, August 23rd, workers applied posters to temporary walls in the courtyard.  The wood panels hide construction materials used for the ongoing renovation project.

Philadelphia City Hall, completed 1901, architect John McArthur Jr. Center City, Philadelphia, 2010. Photo by author.

Since 2007 the French Second Empire style building has been subject of a major conservation program, Philadelphia City Hall Envelope Renovation.  Bronze sculptures by Alexander Milne Calder, 1846-1923, located on the tower were the conservators’ first targets.  Under environmental stress, caused by weather, pollution, and animals, many of the works suffered structural damages caused by corrosion and cracking.  Now organizers are addressing the courtyard.

City Hall courtyard, 2010. Photo by author.

Within the courtyard a digitally printed screen  adorns a chain-link fence which obscures half of the area .  In addition to the close-up images of Calder’s sculptures and bright landscape views, the screen includes information about conservation efforts.

In contrast, the paste-ups feature vibrant, illusionistic paintings of the city’s art and public spaces.

New look for courtyard, 2010. Photo by author.

While the posters divert attention from the fencing and machinery associated with the renovation, they operate on another level as well.  Symbolically, the paste-ups align Philadelphia’s civic and architectural core with the city’s expansive mural arts program.

Related Links:

Alexander Milne Calder Sculpture, City Hall, Philadelphia, PA

GHC In Situ Sculpture Conservation

The Getty Conservation Institute Newsletter [pdf]

City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program

NPR- On Philly’s Walls, Murals Painted with Brotherly Love

Philadelphia mural

Image by kightp via Flickr

Entry filed under: Art, Material Culture, Memorials/Monuments, Public Art, Public Space. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

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