Thursday, January 19, 2012

Butt-Fugly Public Art of the Week-- January 19th

Burst of Joy by Harold Kimmelman

In the sunken pit in front of the Gallery at Market East, near the northwest corner of 9th and Market

Ahh jeez. Pic from
                          Burst of JOY? In front of the Gallery? Burst of Failure, Burst of Disappointment, Burst of Inappropriate... these are more apt names for this shiny-ass piece of shit. I never heard of joy bursting out of a steel column to kill us all. What a mess.
                           The worst part is, this isn't even a unique piece for this artist, there's like 800 different versions of it, many of which HAVE THE SAME NAME! This Kimmelman guy must be nuts. It's bad enough when sculptors have one successful design and just rehash it over and over again in different forms... but to give them all the same name? That's just beyond fucked up.

A different sculpture also called Burst of Joy.
                           This unfortunate piece of Public Art was a Percent-for-Art-shoehorn-in-some-crap project that was due to the construction of the Gallery in 1977. The piece was put there in order to create a "festive atmosphere" out front. Festive? What's festive about an exploding steel column? You know, the things that hold up buildings in a city? Its not festive when they explode!.Well it didn't fucking work, assholes. The front of the Gallery is depressing as shit.
                           Burst of Joy wasn't even supposed to be the name of this thing. In early newspaper articles from before it was installed, they called it Cornucopia. Cornucopia? What the fuck? I guess even Kimmelman has to set limits on what to name his goofy-ass shit. This silly motherfucker got installed on August 8, 1977, and has been standing there making people say "huh?" ever since.

Burst of Shit arriving on the back of a truck. Burst of Truck would be a more interesting sculpture.
                        After September 11th, this sculpture got more attention than it ever had before or since. Some nutty-ass 9/11 Truthers out there started to say that this thing was proof that the whole disaster was an inside job. How would that work? So in 1977, Kimmelman was helping the Illuminati or whatever plan the attack, then made a sculpture about it? Its more likely some Al Qaeda dude went to the Gallery, saw how much the mall sucked, and declared payback against America. As he was walking out, he saw Burst of Joy, and said, "That's a great idea!!".
                       Needless to say, it DOES resemble September 11th. Kind of unavoidable with a large exploding rectangle. If it wasn't inappropriate before, it is now. This thing is so ugly, it'll make you join Al Qaeda.


  1. You forgot to mention that the pieces that exploded from this thing are suspended inside. I only know this because I had to look up the sculptor to see if the rest of his stuff is as strange- I think the Gallery got ripped off! His kangaroos in Society Hill look like they are really cool. At least the building owners chose an artist who lives and works in the Philadelphia area!

  2. Just plow the whole Gallery...tear it down..dated,ugly and no redeeming anything