1981 by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen
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.
In the neighborhood
Museums & Attractions
31st Street between Walnut and South Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19153
- Institute of Contemporary Art
- The Drexel Collection
- Addams Gallery
- Centennial Bank
- The Walter & Leonore Annenberg Rare Book and Manuscript Library
- Kelly Writers House
- The Awesome Fest
- Philadelphia International Children’s Festival
- Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts
- View more attractions
Restaurants & Dining