6 GIFs that let you experience the fantastic outdoor art at the tip of South
💌 Love Philly? Sign up for the free Billy Penn email newsletter to get everything you need to know about Philadelphia, every day.
The southern tip of Philadelphia where the Schuylkill meets the Delaware river used to be a separate piece of land, separated from the rest of the city by a waterway. Called League Island, it stopped being one in the late 1920s, when the U.S. Navy filled the back channel to create an airfield.
That history provided inspiration for the name of the latest Philadelphia Navy Yard installation by Group X.
You might know the artist collaborative from their past works — a building-size sea monster and a climbable web of packing tape — at the sprawling mixed-use campus, where developers are slowly but surely transforming the industrial structures of the former naval base into businesses, residences, hotels and shops.
Group X popped back on the Navy Yard radar in September 2020 with a collection dubbed “Mystery Island and the Marvelous Occurrence of Spontaneous Art,” aka M.I.M.O.S.A.
Comprising six different outdoor structures made of wire, yarn, paper and metal, by artists from Philadelphia and around the globe, the installation is still up, and available for socially distanced viewing through Nov. 2.
You don’t need any tickets to attend, just your facemask and yourself. Here’s a look at what you’ll find when you go.
12th Street between Normandy Place & Constitution Avenue
Yes, that is a 1984 Ford Thunderbird turned into a piñata. No, you can’t smash it open to find candy inside.
What you can do is appreciate its fluttering beauty from many angles, while contemplating the Las Vegas-based artist’s inspiration: their mother, who bought this model as her first car after immigrating to the U.S. from Guatemala.
The colors represent the Guatemalan flag, according to Favela’s statement, which notes that the lowrider “was a symbol of progress for her, of independence, the end of ‘the American Dream’ mythos.”
Building 99, 13th Street & Constitution Avenue
Embroidering buildings is the calling card of this yarn artist based in Valencia, Spain, who travels to add their “flourish” to cities around the world.
The idea is to add a feminine delicacy to streetscapes, according to Rodrigo’s statement, dressing homes in new clothes and mixing the mediums of craft, architecture and design into a three-dimensional structure.
Admiral Peary Way between 13th Street & Broad Street
If not for its scale, this piece of art would be totally recognizable: it’s a “name necklace,” like those worn by countless people around the world.
This particular edition happens to feature a pendant measuring more than 7 feet across. It’s held in place by a rusty ship chain and nautical clasps, which, along with its message, shout out the many marines and sailors who loved ones on this shore as they sailed out to sea.
The Belgian artist is known as a jewelry designer, albeit pieces that adorn buildings instead of humans. Per Bussche’s statement, the work is a “cross-pollination between the city as a democratic context and jewelry as a social phenomenon.”
Buildings 100 + 101, Broad Street & Intrepid Avenue
If you didn’t know to seek out this piece, you might miss it — but a glint of sunlight is likely to catch your eye and make you look twice.
Created of galvanized wire, the “two dimensional,…