Jun 22, 2023 - Newcomers Guide

"Clothespin" sculpture has been a downtown fixture for 47 years

"The Clothespin" sculpture

The sculpture looks pretty much the same as in the 1970s. Photo: H. Armstrong Roberts/Classicstock/Getty

Philly’s iconic ”Clothespin” sculpture turns 47 this weekend.

Why it matters: The 45-foot monument is a Center City landmark that has ignited controversy over its meaning and design.

State of play: A crane placed the 10-ton clothespin on its pedestal at the 15th and Market Streets subway station on June 25, 1976, which marked the bicentennial of the Declaration of Independence.

  • It was designed by artist Claes Oldenburg, whose colossal works of art of ordinary objects are found around the world.

Zoom in: Oldenburg compared the rusty steel sculpture to Constantin Brancusi’s “The Kiss,” which can be seen in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, per the Association for Public Art.

  • The metal spring is supposed to look like the number 76, per The New York Times.

Of note: Oldenburg died last year.

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