Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Have you been to the new Alexander Calder Park along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia? Yesterday I was there at Magic Hour, all the buildings golden with the setting sun, and it was the perfect time to visit, and be alone with the sculptures. My favorite is called Wisdom Tooth, and is not on the webpage I'm sad to see (or NOT see). The sculpture-mobile Ordinary is on the website however, which makes sense, since it's the giant of the park, colorful and quite striking, especially the first time you see it because you can't believe what you're seeing.

In all there are a dozen sculptures including Ordinary, with a tan gravel path and benches. There is now landscaping connecting the sculptures, but I'm not sure what's going on with the plants since they look sickly and chewed down. There are a lot of security cameras to protect the sculptures from vandals. The cameras haven't deterred the birds from making their white streaks of shit on each of the jet black sculptures, but that's to be expected I guess.

It's a nice meditation being in the park, benches positioned to view a different group of sculptures, or the sky fanning out suddenly depending where you sit. See for yourself and let me know, but I think you'll enjoy yourself.

An older couple visiting from Germany walked through while I was enjoying the sky turn color. They were upset that the park was so close to the highway, and said that the noise distracted them from enjoying the art. I'm used to the sound of traffic, and said so with a shrug. They insisted that the park should have been placed in a quiet location, to which I suggested the park could be duplicated, one in the woods, one in the desert, one on a giant floating raft, etc., but they didn't care for my idea.

"Why would you do that? I do not understand why you would do that?"

"Why not do it?"

"You need quiet for art. What do you mean a giant raft?"

"Everybody can experience how they want then, right?"

"This is terrible this traffic is terrible, AH!"

They left, shaking their heads, unable to enjoy the sculpture park, taking their story of the terrible noise back across the ocean. But really, it's not that bad, come and hear/see for yourself, it's a nice experience.


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