Mural Arts Program presents Katharina Grosse’s much-anticipated public art project for Philadelphia’s rail gateway: psychylustro
Monumental artwork to be installed at seven locations between 30th Street and North Philadelphia stations, beginning April 29, 2014
PHILADELPHIA – March 10, 2014 – The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program announces exciting new details regarding its much-anticipated public art project designed for Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor. Created by critically acclaimed Berlin-based visual artist Katharina Grosse, psychylustro will transform one of Philadelphia’s major transportation thoroughfares with a series of seven bright, bold installations along the city’s rail gateway between 30th Street and North Philadelphia stations.
This large-scale, site-specific public artwork, visible primarily to passengers on Amtrak (traveling between Philadelphia and New York), SEPTA Regional Rail (Chestnut Hill West and Trenton lines) and New Jersey Transit (Atlantic City line), is a temporaryinstallation that will transform over time as the elements reclaim the space. The work will unfold in a series of seven passages — from vast, dramatic warehouse walls to small buildings and stretches of green spaces — meant to be framed through the windows of the moving train, creating a real-time landscape painting that explores shifting scale, perspective and the passage of time.Mural Arts has now released a map of the project sites, available at muralarts.org/katharinagrosse.
“We really want people to see what we see,” says Jane Golden, Mural Arts executive director. “We see the deterioration, but we also see the beauty, we see the history, we see Philadelphia’s past.”
Of the project’s unique title, curator Elizabeth Thomas explains: “The title psychylustro combines ideas of the psyche and illumination to convey the work as a landscape of the mind. The project aims to frame viewers’ railway journey and intensify the experience of their surroundings.”
Grosse, one of the most significant painters on the contemporary art scene, elaborates: “The work shifts your notion of size through movement, so when you stand in front of it, it’s huge, but when you pass it by on the train it becomes small. This kind of experience — that your life is constantly in that kind of changing mode — is something I’ve always been fascinated by. And this time we have an extra tool, which is the train. In a museum you walk, and that’s the way you move. Here, you can fly.”
With nearly 34,000 daily viewers along that stretch of the Northeast Corridor, the installation will be a portal for new audiences to experience contemporary art, transforming a routine train journey into a voyage of the imagination. Some sections will also be visible from vehicle and pedestrian bridges. A detailed viewing guide will be available at a later date.
Using Grosse’s unique spray-paint technique to spread intense color across the chosen project sites,the artist will install psychylustro between April 29 and mid-May 2014, with her team, including local artists Erin DeRosa, Malachi Floyd, Diana Gonzalez, Nathaniel Lee, Darin Rowland and Thomas Walton. A public opening in mid-May will be announced soon; and atalk between Grosse and Carlos Basualdo, Curator of Contemporary Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, is scheduled for 2 p.m. on May 18, 2014, at the Museum.
The installation will be accompanied by an audio guide and a scholarly publication on the work and its installation, designed by Project Projects and featuring essays by project curator Elizabeth Thomas; artist and writer Doug Ashford, Associate Professor at New York’s Cooper Union and former member of Group Material; critic and historian Daniel Marcus, Teaching Fellow at Art Center College of Design and frequent Artforum contributor; and Anthony Elms, curator at Philadelphia’s Institute of Contemporary Art and the 2014 Whitney Biennial.
Key Project Information
Location: Seven individual sites between 30th Street Station and North Philadelphia Station
Info & Map: muralarts.org/katharinagrosse
Installation dates: April 29 – mid-May 2014
Installation artists: Erin DeRosa (West Philadelphia), Malachi Floyd (Germantown), Diana Gonzalez (New Jersey), Nathaniel Lee (Germantown), Darin Rowland (South Philadelphia), Thomas Walton (Spring Garden), Beate Slansky (Berlin), Arne Schreiber (Berlin)
Public opening: To be announced
Artist talk at the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Sunday, May 18 at 2 p.m. (additional programming forthcoming)
SEPTA Regional Rail lines: Chestnut Hill West, Trenton
New Jersey Transit lines: Atlantic City
Amtrak routes: Northeast Corridor (Philadelphia to New York)
Other ways to see the work: Some passages visible via vehicle/pedestrian bridges (details forthcoming)
IMPORTANT NOTE: Access to railroad property is prohibited. The public is warned NOT to attempt to walk along, cross or approach the tracks as trains can operate on any track in any direction at any time. Trespassing on railroad property is extremely dangerous and violators will be prosecuted.
About Katharina Grosse
Katharina Grosse (b. 1961, Freiburg/Breisgau, Germany) lives and works in Berlin. Educated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Münster and Düsseldorf with Norbert Tadeusz and Gotthard Graubner (from 1982 to 1990), her extensive journeys brought her to Asia, South America and New Zealand. She was awarded the Villa Romana-Prize, Florence, Italy (1992); the Karl-Schmidt-Rottluff Prize (1993); and served as Artist-in-Residence at the Chinati Foundation, in Marfa, Texas (1999). In 2000 she was appointed to a professorship at the Kunsthochschule Weißensee in Berlin, and she is currently a professor for painting at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf.
Grosse’s work has been commissioned by institutions around the world, including MOCA, Cleveland; Arken Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen; Museu Serralves, Porto; Tate St. Ives; Kunstwerke, Berlin; Denver Art Museum, Denver; Prospect One, New Orleans; Amsterdam’s De Appel; Paris’ Palais de Tokyo; The Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; the Renaissance Society, Chicago; and the Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art (GoMA), Brisbane, among many other venues.
Recent U.S. projects include solo exhibitions at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) and the Nasher Sculpture Center. A commission with New York City’s Public Art Fund is on view at the MetroTech Center in downtown Brooklyn through Sept. 14, 2014.
About Elizabeth Thomas
Elizabeth Thomas is a curator and writer, currently working independently. As curator-in-residence with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, working to research and propose new forms of public practice, she has collaborated with Mural Arts on projects with Josh MacPhee, Megawords and Temporary Services in addition to the Katharina Grosse installation. Current institutional projects include exhibitions on speculative futures and the intersection of comedy and performance art. She recently edited and published A Variation on Powers of Ten with Futurefarmers for the Bildmuseet in Sweden; and is currently producing a book of interviews on the subject of ignorance and speculation for SALT, Istanbul following her research residency there. She is currently developing a framework for collaborative public practice in the San Francisco Bay Area, with Andrea Bowers as the first resident artist.
As Phyllis Wattis MATRIX Curator at the University of California–Berkeley Art Museum, she used the university as both a site and a context for projects considering central questions of research, experimentation, and political and social engagement, with artists including Omer Fast, Futurefarmers, Jill Magid, Ahmet Ogut, Trevor Paglen, Tomas Saraceno and Allison Smith, among others. In 2009, she received a Warhol Foundation Curatorial Fellowship to study forms of research, production and presentation in order to imagine new models for institutional and programmatic structures. She lectures and publishes frequently, and has served as Senior Lecturer in both Curatorial Practice and Graduate Fine Arts at the California College of the Arts. She was previously associate curator of contemporary art at the Carnegie Museum of Art, where she worked intensively on the 2004 Carnegie International, and curatorial fellow at the Walker Art Center, and has organized exhibitions independently for the University of Michigan Museum of Art, Mass MoCA, Temple Gallery and the Andy Warhol Museum.
About City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
Mural Arts is the nation’s largest mural program. Since 1984, Mural Arts has created over 3,000 murals and works of public art, which are now part of Philadelphia’s civic landscape and a source of inspiration to thousands of residents and visitor who encounter them, earning Philadelphia international recognition as “City of Murals.” Mural Arts engages over 100 communities each year in the transformation of neighborhoods through the mural-making process. Mural Arts’ award-winning, free art education programs annually serve nearly 2,000 youth at sites throughout the city and at-risk teens through the education outreach programs. Mural Arts also serves adult offenders in local prisons and rehabilitation centers, using the restorative power of art to break the cycle of crime and violence in our communities. For further information, visit muralarts.org.
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Presented in cooperation with Amtrak, psychylustrois made possible through the generous support of The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and the National Endowment for the Arts. An accompanying exhibition publication is supported in part by a grant from the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation.
The City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program
Lincoln Financial Mural Arts Center
Thomas Eakins House
1727-29 Mt. Vernon Street
Philadelphia, PA 19130
info [at] muralarts [dot] org
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