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Split Button

1981 by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen

Split Button

The Split Button by Claes Oldenburg. Credit: R. Tarver for GPTMC

Description

Another 1% commission (thanks to Philadelphia’s Percent for Art Program) gave Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, his wife and collaborator, a chance to design a sculpture for the University of Pennsylvania.

Knowing that Ben Franklin had founded the university, and noticing that a nearby statue depicted him as somewhat plump, they imagined that Ben had popped a button.

The button would have fallen to the ground and been broken by students’ feet. Thus the sculptors created a massive aluminum “split” button for the plaza in front of the main library.

Split Button has become a landmark and popular meeting point on the Penn campus. Students often lounge on it to relax.

Details

Blanche P. Levy Park Near 34th and Walnut, University of Pennsylvania Philadelphia, PA 19104

Neighborhood:

In the neighborhood

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