Synergy (1987)

by Albert Paley (1944 - )

Photo Caption: Photo Ashley Lippolis © 2021 for the Association for Public Art
  • Title

    Synergy

  • Artist

    Albert Paley (1944 - )

  • Year

    1987

  • Location

    450 N 18th Street

  • Medium

    Painted steel, on concrete bases

  • Dimensions

    Height 20′; width 17’6″; depth 7′ (base height 2′) (each of two forms)

Commissioned by the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority

Owned by the City of Philadelphia

At A Glance

  • Commissioned for a new apartment building as part of the Redevelopment Authority’s 1% program

  • Two tall columns are wrapped with banner and ribbon shapes that seem to be fluttering in the breeze

  • The overall effect is one of frozen motion

  • The columns and banners were hydraulically bent and formed out of steel plate and bar stock

Albert Paley’s steel sculpture frames the entrance of the North X Northwest apartment building – an expansion of the Museum Towers – on N 18th Street. Two tall columns are wrapped with banner and ribbon shapes that seem to be fluttering in the breeze as they extend toward the center of the drive. Each large pillar is flanked by two smaller columns bearing similar ribbons and banners that ripple downward toward the street. The overall effect is one of frozen motion.

Close-up of Albert Paley’s steel sculpture at a building entrance: two tall columns are wrapped with banner and ribbon shapes that seem to be fluttering in the breeze
Photo Ashley Lippolis © 2021 for the Association for Public Art

Synergy was commissioned for the Museum Towers apartment building as part of the Redevelopment Authority’s Percent for Art program. At Paley’s studio in Rochester, the columns and banners were hydraulically bent and formed out of steel plate and bar stock. After welding, hand grinding, and sandblasting, Paley and his assistants painted the sculpture a bronze-green color to harmonize with the architecture. Lights in the circular concrete bases illuminate the massive steel forms at night.

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

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