Covenant (1974)

by Alexander Liberman (1912 - 1999)

Photo Caption: Photo © Association for Public Art
  • Title

    Covenant

  • Artist

    Alexander Liberman (1912 - 1999)

  • Year

    1974; installed 1975

  • Location

    University of Pennsylvania, Locust Walk near 39th Street

  • Medium

    Painted steel

  • Dimensions

    Height 45′; width 34′; depth 67′

Commissioned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority

Owned by the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania

At A Glance

  • Commissioned as part of the Redevelopment Authority’s percent-for-art requirement

  • The angular composition of tubular red steel weighs over 25 tons

  • Artist Alexander Liberman characterized his larger works as a kind of “free architecture”

Students walking to or from the University of Pennsylvania’s residential complex pass a giant, angular composition of tubular red steel. Weighing over 25 tons, Covenant was commissioned as part of the university’s fulfillment of the Redevelopment Authority’s Percent for Art requirement.

Alexander Liberman’s sculpture has been described as so “wildly asymmetrical” that every change in the viewer’s angle of perception alters the apparent axes. During his long career his sculpture became increasingly monumental, and he characterized his larger works as a kind of “free architecture” that should have the impact of a temple or cathedral. In Covenant Liberman specifically intended to convey a feeling of unity and spiritual participation. The installation in 1975 was assisted by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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

 

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