Art Museum Turns Construction Barrier into Art Exhibit

A construction barrier was redesigned to promote the upcoming exhibits that will be housed in the newest wing of the Philadelphia Art Museum.

📅   Tue April 11, 2017 - Northeast Edition
Natalie Rauch


Many of the pieces on the wall include modern artists, such as Andy Warhol, Barbara Kruger, Chuck Close and Jasper Johns. via philly.curbed.com
Many of the pieces on the wall include modern artists, such as Andy Warhol, Barbara Kruger, Chuck Close and Jasper Johns. via philly.curbed.com
Many of the pieces on the wall include modern artists, such as Andy Warhol, Barbara Kruger, Chuck Close and Jasper Johns. via philly.curbed.com The construction barrier at the Philadelphia Art Museum has been converted into an art exhibit showcasing reproductions of the art that will be available to view once the renovation process is over. via philly.curbed.com The renovation of the Philadelphia Art Museum will last for 3 years. via philly.curbed.com

Construction barriers are a common sight. Made up of plywood, metal fencing and signage, these barriers serve a few purposes like protecting trees from abrasion and keeping unauthorized persons out of the work site. When it came to an extensive work site at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, this accepted piece of construction can be seen as an eyesore.

As of March 30, 2017, the Philadelphia Museum has broken ground on a $525-million renovation project, which includes a wing designed by architect Frank Gehry. The renovation process will last until 2020 making construction a standard part of the museum experience for three years.

With such a sizeable project comes a sizeable barrier — 450 feet to be exact. Years prior to the beginning of this project, the museum saw the issue and contacted the independent design consultant group Pentagram to help dress up the barrier.

Pentagram's solution was to turn the barrier into an art exhibit itself and will preview what will be available for visitors to see once the renovations have been completed. Many of the pieces on the wall include modern artists, such as Andy Warhol, Barbara Kruger, Chuck Close and Jasper Johns.

The wall itself is made of plywood invoking the types of crates that art is generally shipped in. Resting upon that are reproductions of the art pieces made to look like canvases waiting to be hung up. The spirit of the fence invites visitors to view the construction barrier instead of ignoring it.

“Our goal with the identity design and our ongoing relationship with the Philadelphia Museum of Art has been, and continues to be, to open the collection to the public,” said Paula Scher, principal design consultant at Pentagram.

The artwork will be rotated during the three-year tenure of the construction fence and some have already termed this type of exhibit as “Constructionism.”—CEG