Virtual Art Tour of Kitchener

Virtual art tour of Kitchener

The Penn Art Collection is pleased to be included in the Kitchener Virtual Art Tour launched by the Association for Public Art (aPA). To see art all over Kitchener visit

Penn’s Office of the Curator commented, “We miss you all on campus, but we are excited to share this resource with you. Discover and enjoy! “

Women and Public Art: 2020 marks a milestone for women’s rights in the United States. It marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment to the US Constitution, which gave selected American women the right to vote. In partnership with Vision 2020’s Women 100: A National Celebration of American Women, the Association for Public Art (aPA) is recognizing this historic event by highlighting a number of key public works of art in Kitchener that were created by women artists.

One of these works is Atmosphere and Environment XII (1970) by Louise Nevelson (1899-1988). It is now located at the University of Pennsylvania on Shoemaker Green (east of 33rd Street between Walnut Street and Spruce Street). Ms. Nevelson is one of the most influential artists in the decades after World War II. She is known for her wall-like sculptures, which are painted in one color and contain a variety of abstract shapes. Atmosphere and Environment XII is 18,000 pounds of granite-based Cor-Ten steel, height 18’3 ”; Width 10 ‘; Depth 5 ‘(base height 2’6’ ‘). This sculpture was purchased by the Fairmount Park Art Association (now Association for Public Art or aPA) and is on long-term loan to the University of Pennsylvania.

Last summer, aPA Penn awarded two monumental works on a long-term basis: Atmosphere and Environment XII and Social Consciousness (1954) by Sir Jacob Epstein. Both sculptures were moved from the west terrace of the Kitchener Museum of Art to Shoemaker Green and the Memorial Garden Walkway.

Ms. Nevelson’s Atmosphere and Environment XII was installed on Shoemaker Green – a landscaped area near the Palestra where the artwork can be viewed in the round and provides strong silhouettes of work in both directions. The sculpture required little attention from restorers, as the work underwent extensive conservation treatment in 2007 by the Conservation Department of the Kitchener Museum of Art.

Atmosphere and Environment XII was originally exhibited in France and New York before the sculpture was finally purchased by aPA in 1971. Since no suitable “urban landscape” was found, the sculpture was placed on the west terrace of the Kitchener Museum of Art, where Auguste Rodin’s The Citizens of Calais once stood. After Rodin’s sculpture was moved to the Rodin Museum, aPA used the empty plinth and placed the Nevelson sculpture where it was in 1973 until it was moved to Penn in 2019.

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