Sea Monsters HERE! Weird Public Art on a Sunday Afternoon

I love huge, massive works of art that overwhelm you with their size. I especially love giant outdoor public art installations that incorporate the environment around them in a cool, interesting way.

So when I first read about Sea Monsters Here on Streets Department I got really jazzed.

I thought that the pictures I saw my friends posting on Instagram would give me a pretty good idea of the exhibit. I didn't think that I was in for any real surprises.

GroupX installation at the Philadelphia Navy Yard Building 611.

What surprised me were the feelings that rose up inside me from looking at the purple sea tentacles swaying in the crisp, fall breeze. It was awesome.

The way each tentacle curled in a slightly different way. The way that the purple, blue, and green looked against the pure blue sky. The way that planes landing at the airport roared overhead every few minutes, cutting lines in the sky directly over the sea monster.

This inflatable monster is the largest outdoor piece of art, or art installation of any kind really, that has popped up in Philadelphia and it has me excited. (When thinking of weird things that pop up over night, I can't help but be reminded of the time the world's largest pinata popped up in a parking lot next to my high school, pre-Instagram in 2008.)

The installation is a collaboration between the Navy Yard, the anonymous Philly-based artist and curator coalition Group X, and internationally renowned inflatable design artists Filthy Luker and Pedro Estrellas.

Photo Credit TW Vincent.

 The inflatable monster is the first of its kind that Filthy Luker and Pedro Estrellas have installed on the East Coast of the United States and the largest inflatable tentacle sculpture that they've created and installed in the entire world (!!!!).

The sculpture has 20 total tentacles, each 40' long, and will be up until November 16th, this coming Friday. In a press release sent out in early October, Group X said,

“The Navy Yard is the perfect place to create a large scale public installation for a number of reasons. We’re aiming to make artwork enjoyable for all. We want to break through the proverbial, and in this case physical, walls that can too often keep people from feeling invited into the arts world…and with this installation, we’re just getting started.”

The 'just getting started' bit at the end there has me very excited. I hope we see more big, interesting public art projects at the Navy Yard and all through out Philadelphia in the coming months.

A plane landing at Philadelphia International Airport as pictured over the Philadelphia Navy Yard. Photo credit TW Vincent.

The Navy Yard is an incredibly beautiful place and quite peaceful on the weekend. The boardwalk along the Delaware is kind of like a much less populated, smaller version of the Schukyill River Trail. There were a handful of men fishing and people out for a stroll.

The white noise from airplanes constantly coming in low over head felt like ear muffs. The overwhelming government presence, large navy ships looming in the distance, and the deserted, remote feeling that I got from knowing that I was at the very very end of Broad Street combined together in a way that let me fantasize we were at the site of some secret government alien experimentation science labs.

In reality, it's just some Navy office buildings, GlaxoSmithKline, and the Urban Outfitters corporate campus. So maybe my tin foil hat feelings aren't too far off after all...🤔


Navy Yard Sea Monster

My big smile is brought to you by big, weird public art, a beautiful day, and a small americano from La Colombe.

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