Thursday, July 5, 2012

Butt-Fugly Public Art of the Week-- July 5th

Class of '62 Walkway Markers

37th and Walnut, 37th and Spruce

Pictured: crap.
                    When I first saw this, I thought it was yet another crappy Penn public art piece from the 60's, but no... its from this year, 2012! This is one of the newest pieces of public art in the city and its t-rash. Yet another shitty "modern" obelisk like so many others in our fair city.
                    These new penis-rocks are the latest gift from the 427 living members of Penn's class of 1962. 25 years ago, they were the ones that spawned the famous Ben Franklin on the Bench sculpture that everyone associates with Penn. Well, for their 50th anniversary, they added one more Ben Franklin-related thing for the Class of '62 Walk, aka 37th Street through the Penn Campus.
                   The two sculptures, one at 37th and Walnut, one at 37th and Spruce, are placed in order to mark the two termini of the Class of '62 Walk in the same way that old-timey obelisk-shaped location markers did in Franklin's time. Supposedly, those markers were integral to Franklin's Post Office, even though the vast majority of them in this country were installed well after Franklin's death.
                  The marker near Walnut Street points to Albany and Paris, the Spruce Street one points to Boston and London... all locations that were significant to Ben Franklin. As if we need more shit dedicated to Ben Franks in this city. Its enough already
                   What is it with these Penn classes that still want to make a name for themselves like they're still in college? Class of '23 Ice Arena, Class of '47 Meeting Room, Class of '49 Auditorium, Class of '68 Seminar Room, Class of '79 Africana Studies Resource Room... the list goes on. Maybe I went to a crappy college or something, but I couldn't name a single member of my Class of '02, let alone see myself donating in order to build some kind of bullshit on the campus. Class of '02 Asshole Center maybe? 
                    Anyway, back to these shitty "obelisks". I put obelisk in quotes because as you can see from the crappy picture above, these motherfuckers could barely classify as such, because they're yet another modern take on obelisks. If they wanted to commemorate the old obelisk-shaped location markers, why didn't they just recreate some and install them here? That would be way more appropriate. 
                   Did I mention that these shitbelisks cost $500,000?!??!? 500 goddamn stacks... how much disposable income does these 427 alumni have? Maybe if they spent a few more bucks, Penn would actually acknowledge the markers' presence... their public art map doesn't care about them (check "Public Art" at the top).
                 The markers were dedicated as part of the Class of '62 50th Reunion on May 12, 2012, as if it wasn't enough to have an entire pedestrian street named after them. Expect these stone phalluses to be standing for the next 200 years. It pisses me off that these brand new obelisks will probably get way more respect than the 175-year-old Newkirk Viaduct Monument that sits under a bridge alongside shitty rail tracks, covered in graffiti. 
A better obelisk. It only cost $1100 to build... $21,400 today.
                         What garbage. The Class of '62 raises money for other more noble shit than crappy public art, but these two markers were a big waste of half a million bones. I guess we'll just have to wait for their 75th reunion to see what other bullshit with their name on it they have installed. Fuck.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think these are as bad as the other butt-fugly stuff that's been listed here. Boring, yes, butt-fugly, not quite. What I see as the biggest problem with these is that gap underneath to give it the illusion that it's hovering. I like the hovering part but think of all the trash that's going to eventually get wedged under there.