Art Installation Delayed by Strike in France

Due to a dock strike in Marseilles, France, the construction of Andrea Blum’s art piece “Plateau” at 40th and Locust streets has been delayed.

Only part of the piece is being assembled in France; the rest of the work will be done in Philadelphia.

Because of the strike, the metal components of the project were not shipped on a boat that was originally scheduled to leave on Oct. 31 for the United States.

“This is not a big deal, to be honest,” said Susan Davis, director of public art programs for the Redevelopment Authority of Philadelphia.

The installation has been delayed for about three weeks.

The components are now expected to arrive the week of Nov. 17. Within a few days, after going through customs, the shipment should reach Philadelphia.

Blum plans to start installing the steel on Nov. 29.

The site of the installation has been fenced off since the project began over a month ago.

“It’s got a foundation, it’s got drainage,” Davis said. “Plateau,” she added, “will be permanent, not a temporary work.”

Davis is anticipating the arrival of the builder for the project and his crew from France on Nov. 27.

The team will begin work on the installation soon after, focusing on the steel aspects of the piece.

The project will also include concrete and landscape material, topped by layers of benches and tables.

When complete, the piece should cover about 4,800 square feet, Blum said.

The project is being undertaken as part of the University’s participation in the city’s Percent for Art Program, which mandates that 1 percent of the cost of construction on redeveloped land be dedicated to public art.

This particular project draws its funding from the redevelopment of the Inn at Penn in 1999. One percent of the budget from that development was put into an escrow account because the University and the Redevelopment Authority failed to reach a consensus on the location and details of the piece.