:::OUT POST::: Ken Lum in Philadelphia

Occasionally, recognized artists and others from away will be joining us to share their thoughts and impressions about Public Art outside Vancouver.

This summer (2012) Ken Lum, agreed to take up the position of director of the Undergraduate Fine Arts program at the prestigious University of Pennsylvania School of Design. He begins teaching as full professor in September. Vancouver will miss him, but we’ll always have A Monument for East Vancouver to remind us.

Writing and photography submitted by Ken Lum

Public art cannot be considered in isolation from both place and use. To start my entries from The City of Brotherly Love, my new home, what more appropriate work to begin than with than Robert Indiana’s iconic LOVE sculpture. This is a very popular work sited on the plaza directly in front of Philadelphia’s famous city hall. In this picture, you see a group of young Amish women having their picture taken underneath the sculpture. Pennsylvania is Amish country and Philadelphia’s many open air farmers’ markets are full of Amish vendors. By and large, they don’t live in the city but in their own farming communes in the nearby countryside. Who can argue with love, let alone an upper case version of the term? I live near the area of Hawthorne and near where I live there stands a plaque that speaks of Martin Luther King’s visit to Hawthorne, his call for love but also his call for the end to racism and oppression. In this blue-collar city of rough edges, there is enormous effort by many to dampen the city’s tensions, particularly in the impoverished western and northern sectors. Love is in both plentiful and short supply.

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