Thursday, August 2, 2012

Butt-Fugly Public Art of the Week-- August 2nd

Steel Woman II by Thomas Schutte

Anne d'Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden (PMA parking garage)

Oy. Image from
                         Fuck this sculpture and fuck pretentious-ass "series" of the same sculpture over and over again in slightly different ways. This piece of shit is just another in a series of garbage by German artist Thomas Schutte (Pronounced shoot-a).
                       The sculpture (and series) depicts a nude woman bending in on herself in some kind of fucked up yoga pose on top of a steel coffee table. The left arm of the figure is all fucked up, looking more like an error in the casting process than a design. The hair looks like a mat of macaroni and cheese that got out of control. Don't worry, this malformed piece of horsetrash is considered a great work of art by a super-human artist.
                    Series like this happen when a perfectly good artist gets way too full of shit and gets called "one of the world's most important contemporary artists" by snooty art publications. They get to a point where anything they make will get its ass kissed, so they make series of the same shit over and over again. Schutte, who used to make some pretty cool shit, started making these coffee table nudes in 1998 and hasn't fucking stopped since.  Sometimes he switches up the materials used--- this one was while he was using steel.
Photo from a Schutte show in Italy this last June. Is that enough coffee tables for ya?
                To be fair, Schutte has done some non-coffee table works since '98 that are pretty cool, but he eventually goes right back to the stupid nudes on the tables in between and that's what mostly gets displayed. What bunk. Schutte has been quoted as saying "Design is an element in Social Responsibility." How is depicting naked chicks on coffee tables with missing limbs and shit "social responsibility"? Schutte, you need to shoot-a the fuck up. The more you have to explain it, the more it sucks.
             Steel Woman II was made in 1999 and was displayed along with other coffee tables for 10 years before being installed in the Anne d'Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden in 2009. I bet that if she was named Anne Murphy, they wouldn't be naming shit after her, no matter how awesome she once ran the place. d'Harnoncourt is the ultimate name for something at the PMA-- it has it all... lowercase first letter, apostrophe, lots of syllables, and from Austrian nobility (the d' names from non-German Austrian nobility were made up to sound more regal, so the name has been bullshit since the beginning).
              Its just a matter of time before every city and college campus will have one of Schutte's shitty coffee table nudes.... however, the Anne d'Harnoncourt Sculpture Garden's stuff is supposed to rotate out every few years, so hopefully Philly won't have one by then. Thank Zod.

"You're welcome."
               For the PMA's high-falutin-ass description of the sculpture, click here.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Parking Garage of the Week-- August 1st

Patriot Parking's Chancellor Parking

1616 Chancellor Street

                     Hey, Little Pete's is the shit. Don't let the stupid hipster food snobs at Yelp fool you... this is a truly classic greasy spoon-style diner where you go to punish your arteries for future crimes. A relic diner from an ancient past when there was a place like this on every block (and I mean EVERY). Some people actually expect to walk into Little Pete's and get a fair trade free range vegan kelp wrap floating in perfume served in a man's hat. Those people are called morons.
                The only problem with Little Pete's is that it resides in one of the city's worst parking garages. A Castle of Crunchy Concrete that's been uglifying the neighborhood for the last six decades. Though most of it is hidden behind taller buildings, its small countenance on 17th Street is a goddamn disgrace... except for Little Pete's.
              This part of 17th Street was once home to some stately-ass mansion-sized rowhouses. Though many people came and went through those houses since they were built in the 1830's, the most notable was a famous Jewish doctor, Solomon Solis-Cohen, who lived at the corner of 17th and Chancellor. This guy was a ground-breaking physician whose books and papers are still studied by medical students. He was also a Philadelphia School District teacher, professional Hebrew translator, and a professor at Jefferson and one other medical college. Basically, this motherfucker did it all.

His epitaph reads, "Fuck y'all"
                      At some point within Solis-Cohen's lifetime, his house along with a few others on the block were demolished to make way for the J. M. Shock Absorber Company in the early 1910's. That company was one of the first to sell shock absorbers for cars, something we all take for granted today. Their location on 17th would produce, distribute, and even install shock absorbers. A company from Chicago sued them for stealing their patented shock absorber design, but they lost. The corner of 17th and Chancellor would continue to be a garage long after J.M.'s departure.
                  Finally, in the 1950's, the horrible parking garage was built. The 1950's saw the construction of many of the city's worst and longest-lived parking garages-- this would be no exception. The garage itself has very little history. Its 57,000 square foot ass has been parking cars for so long that everyone seems to be accustomed to its damaging presence. The lot it sits on is zoned C-4, therefore a 500 foot skyscraper could replace this thing if anyone cared.

You can see it on the center-right in this picture from 1959.
                      Too small a lot for a skyscraper, eh? No one would ever propose one here, eh? Well in 2006 or so, a tall and thin-ass condominium tower was proposed for this location. The architect was Daroff Design and looks like something one would expect of such a swanky address. Its actually pretty cool and has a pointy top, something missing from buildings constructed around here in the last few years.

You can't see the spire from this angle, but trust me, its there. 

Little Pete's would be eliminated.
                    Needless to say, the project never happened. I don't even know if it was a serious proposal or just a fantasy building.
                   All that is not even the worst part about this piece of shit. The parking garage's current owners, some folks under the name Philadelphia Chancellor Limited Partnership (and with a mailing address at the Radisson Hotel in Trevose, PA) bought the place from the Equity Office Property Trust in December of 2004 for $11,433,240. Whomever this group of people/businesses is (probably something having to do with the Carlson Hotels company who own the Radisson Plaza Warwick Hotel across the street), they owe $559,337.82 in property taxes. They were on the "biggest tax cheats" list back when they owed 200 grand less. Maybe my ninja down at can get on the case.
                  In short, this garage sucks radioactive monkey nuts through a kryptonite straw. Hopefully someone will come along and put this motherfucker out of its misery-- just demolish the whole thing except Little Pete's.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dead-Ass Proposal(s) of the Week-- July 31st

Will Smith's Philadelphia Failures

                 If you don't know who Will Smith is, fuck you. From West Philadelphia (born and raised), Smith, according to legend, spent most of his days on the playground. He later became a rapper/singer, then a TV star. In the late 1990's and early 2000's, when Smith became a big-time mega-millionaire movie star, he, along with his brother Harry, started a real estate development company called the Treyball Development Corporation. It was named after his spoiled-ass son, Willard "Trey" Smith III.
                In the summer of 1999, Treyball proposed two major projects for Smith's home city, Philafuckingdelphia. As with many proposals in this fair city, they failed to come to fruition like a motherfucker. Read more at the Philadelphia Citypaper's Naked City Blog!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mystery Building of the Week-- July 30th

Belmont Building

211 North 13th Street

MS Fox Real Estate's picture of it.
                This boring looking motherfucker in the heart of Season City is mysterious as fuck. Though the architect is known (Charles E. Oelshclager), the history of the building definitely isn't. This big-ass bitch-bastard has been sitting there for 96'd think somebody out there would know where the fuck it came from.. but really, no one seems to know.
            Like many things in this city, the building is named Belmont... however, it seems to have acquired that name some time in the 1950's. Before that, it wasn't called anything. No records of it seem to exist, anywhere!

There it is all dirty on January 12, 1960.
                     Currently, the building holds the Philadelphia branch of Service Point, a Woburn, Massachusetts printing company. The property is managed by the MS Fox Real Estate Company, the same shitbirds who let 1200 Chestnut sit there and collect bumshit. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 8th floors are empty and available for lease for the low low price of $14.50 per square foot.
                      Whomever owns the structure bought it for $1 on February 7th, 1997, obviously weaseling their way out of Land Transfer Tax. To add even more to the mystery, the tax records show that its property taxes have been overpaid by $51,912.02. Weird. I'm fuckin' reaching for info here because this shitty motherfucker is a TOTAL mystery.
                   Does anyone know where the hell this building came from? Why its called the Belmont Building? What companies used to use it? What it was used for? Other names for it? The length of Charles Oelschlanger's taint? and WHAT THE FUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!?!?!?!?