Ask Benny: Is there a database for Penn's public art?

Dear Benny,
As an art lover, I’ve noticed many outdoor sculptures as I walk around campus, but know there must be more. Is there a way I can find out the location of all of the sculptures at Penn, as well as information about the artists who made them?
—Sucker for Sculpture

Dear 3-D Fanatic,
You’ll find lots of information about Penn’s impressive public art collection at the University’s Facilities and Real Estate Services web site at www.facilities.upenn.edu/artHistory.

Once you start to browse the site you’ll realize just how large and varied the campus collection of 3-D art is. Click onto the map of sculptures and you can locate any piece on campus. Some of them—like Robert Indiana’s “Love” sculpture on Locust Walk and the artfully lounging “Benny on a bench”—are so famous they’re practically icons. Penn also boasts work by such well-regarded artists as Alexander Lieberman (the massive red steel construction near Harnwell) and Claes Oldenberg, whose “Split Button” is a favorite among visiting pre-schoolers and serious students alike.

But it’s well worth searching out some of Penn’s less well known treasures, too, and the map includes pieces hidden away in buildings—R. Tait McKenzie’s charming bronze sculpture of a rowing crew holding aloft their skiff that sits just inside the entrance in Pottruck, for example—and art applied directly to buildings, such as Eoin Kinnarney’s lively mural of a biplane on the wall of Chestnut Hall power house at 39th and Chestnut. The map also gives the locations of every art gallery on campus.


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Originally published on February 24, 2005