Philadelphia Wireman

Wire, drawing, paper, sticker, nail, found objects
Probably  1970–75
Found in Philadelphia, US
Height 9,5, with stand 15 cm, wide 7,5 cm

Price on request: please call +49-173-2511665 or mail

The Philadelphia Wireman sculptures were found in the late 1970s in several trash bags in an abandoned Philadelphia alley in a neighborhood threatened by gentrification where extensive renovation work was underway. This environment of the finding place, as well as the failure of all attempts to locate the artist, suggest that the works were disposed of after the artist’s death. The entire collection consists of about 1200 pieces.

The dense composition of the work is unique and obsessive in design. Wires tie together a conglomeration of found objects, including plastic, glass, drawings, food wrappers, tape, rubber, batteries, pens, leather, reflectors, nuts and bolts, nails, foil, coins, toys, watches, eyeglasses, tools, and jewelry.

Philadelphia Wireman’s sculptures allow for both anthropomorphic and sociocultural associations. Curators, collectors, and critics have compared certain pieces to sculptures of classical antiquity, Native American medicine bundles, African American memory jars, and African fetish objects.  These enigmatic objects, which reflect the artist’s prolific and incredibly focused collecting instincts, function as urban artifacts despite-or perhaps because of-their anonymity.

Philadelphia Wireman’s work has been exhibited at Fleisher-Ollman Gallery (Philadelpia) Matthew Marks, James Cohan, Marlborough Gallery, Maccarone, and the American Folk Art Museum (all in New York, NY) among others.

Philadelphia Wireman is represented in the following public collections: Akron Art Museum, Akron, OH; the American Folk Art Museum, New York, NY; Newark Museum, Newark, NJ; and the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.