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). Bach is the former Executive Director & Chief Curator of the Association for Public Art.
This artwork is part of the (Re)FOCUS on Women in Public Art tour