Phaedrus (1974)

by Beverly Pepper (1924 - )

Photo Caption: Photo Alec Rogers © 2014 for the Association for Public Art
  • Title

    Phaedrus

  • Artist

    Beverly Pepper (1924 - )

  • Year

    1974; installed 1977

  • Location

    Federal Reserve Bank, 100 North 6th Street

  • Medium

    Painted steel

  • Dimensions

    Height 19′; width 8′

  • Themes

    Women and Public Art

Commissioned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority

Owned by the Federal Reserve Bank

At A Glance

  • Commissioned for the new Federal Reserve Bank building as part of the Redevelopment Authority’s 1% program

  • Artist Beverly Pepper has “always been interested in precarious balance”

  • Phaedrus is a 12-ton sculpture made of 13 steel plates painted white

“I have always been interested in precarious balance,” Beverly Pepper has said, “because it is also what life is about.” She applied this principle to Phaedrus, a 12-ton sculpture that thrusts from the ground at an implausible, gravity-defying angle. Made of 13 steel plates painted white, Phaedrus was completed in 1976 and installed in November 1977 under the artist’s supervision.

Along with Alexander Calder’s White Cascade, Phaedrus was commissioned for the new Federal Reserve Bank building as part of the Redevelopment Authority’s Percent for Art program. In 1975 she explained her sculptures of that era in the following words: “I wish to make an object that has a powerful physical presence, but is at the same time inwardly turned, seeming capable of intense self-absorption.”

Adapted from Public Art in Philadelphia by Penny Balkin Bach (Temple University Press, Philadelphia, 1992).

Phaedrus
Photo Alec Rogers © 2014 for the Association for Public Art

 

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