Walking sphere rolls through Philadelphia streets

    The Philadelphia Museum of Art opens a new exhibit of work by one of Italy’s most influential modern artists, Michelangelo Pistoletto. Since the 1960’s his art has reached out to viewers to include them in the work.

    The Philadelphia Museum of Art opens a new exhibit of work by one of Italy’s most influential modern artists, Michelangelo Pistoletto. Since the 1960’s his art has reached out to viewers to include them in the work. The Italian will roll his art through the streets of Philadelphia this weekend.

    In the basement of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, a half-dozen artists commissioned by Michelangelo Pistoletto created an enormous paper ball. Using local newspapers and diluted Elmer’s glue, the members of Spiral Q Puppet Theater create a sphere one meter in diameter. Spiral Q director Tracey Broyles says Michelangelo Pistoletto asked them to crumple the newspaper just so.

    “He wanted the images and ads – he wanted all these pieces of our life on paper to be evident and visible… It’s not made out of paper because it’s cheap, it newspaper because that documents our lives.”

    On Saturday that ball will be rolled through the streets around the Museum. Pistoletto has done this many times in different cities since he first hatched the idea of a “Walking Sphere” in 1967. He says people often take control of the ball.

    “They start to play with it. It’s a sculpture that gives pleasure to participate. Going along the street people are running and pushing and laughing and smiling and playing.”

    Pistoletto says the point is to bring art out of the galleries and into the streets. He’ll get the ball rolling at one in the afternoon at the Museum steps.

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