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Roxy Paine's sculpture Symbiosis to rise on Philadelphia's Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Roxy Paine, "Symbiosis". Photo: Courtesy of Roxy Paine.

PHILADELPHIA, PA.- The Association for Public Art announces the installation of internationally acclaimed artist Roxy Paine’s Symbiosis, a masterful work of public art that explores chaos and order in natural laws. Paine is known for work that explores the collision of industry and nature; his series of stainless steel “Dendroid” sculptures are exemplary manifestations of this practice. The “Dendroids,” a term combining “dendron” (Greek for “tree”) and -oid (a suffix meaning “form”), are monumental structures that convey a fusion of industrial and organic forms. Hand-fabricated from thousands of pieces of stainless steel pipe, plate and rods, Symbiosis suggests both ecological and anatomical branching systems. Symbiosis has never before been publicly exhibited, and will be installed on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway beginning May 27, weather permitting; the work will remain on site for one year.

“Symbiosis is an important work by a significant contemporary artist,” says Penny Balkin Bach, executive director of the Association for Public Art. “The addition of this enigmatic sculpture to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway — a nexus of remarkable public art, green space and world-class cultural institutions — enhances Philadelphia’s reputation as one of the premier cities in the country for outdoor sculpture and innovative public art.”

Paine’s work consistently blurs the lines between the natural and artificial. The “dendroids” evoke arboreal structures, vascular systems, synaptic networks and industrial pipelines, interpreting the natural world through a man-made lens. The structures represent search, growth and the branching of systems that suggest dormant energy and potential, a theme Paine has explored in his work for the last 15 years.

Symbiosis, presented by the Association for Public Art in cooperation with Philadelphia’s Department of Parks & Recreation, is on temporary loan, courtesy of the artist and Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York. The artist will install the sculpture over several days beginning May 27 in Iroquois Park at the northern end of Philadelphia’s Benjamin Franklin Parkway. Symbiosis will be located across a walkway from Mark di Suvero’s Iroquois, which was installed by the Association for Public Art in 2007.

“Public art and space can be a challenge,” Paine says, “but it provides the unique opportunity for art to become a nucleus of energy for a city. My hope is for Symbiosis to become a reference point, a place for gathering or for a moment of quiet contemplation in the midst of frenetic urban life.”

Symbiosis represents the collision of two dendroids that result in stasis, a questionable relationship that teeters between support and detriment. Rising 34 feet high, the more than 3.5 ton sculpture was created from standard industrial piping that was welded, formed and polished in the artist’s studio to create two shimmering, interrelated organic forms that both buttress and weigh on one another, referencing the darker aspects of nature and the fierceness of its laws.

Roxy Paine was born in 1966 in New York and studied at both the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico and the Pratt Institute in New York. Since 1990, his work has been internationally exhibited and is included in major collections such as De Pont Museum of Contemporary Art, Tilburg, The Netherlands; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Israel Museum, Jerusalem; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY. His dendroid sculptures can be found at various museums including the Olympic Sculpture Park, Seattle, WA; Montenmedio Arte Contemporaneo NMAC, Cadiz, Spain; the St. Louis Museum of Art, St. Louis, MO; The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX; and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR. The artist has also completed temporary installations of his artwork, including on the Cantor Roof Garden at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, and Madison Square Park, New York, NY. Roxy Paine lives and works in Brooklyn and Treadwell, NY and is represented by Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York, NY and Kavi Gupta in Chicago, IL. The artist's next solo exhibition will open at Marianne Boesky Gallery on September 12, 2014. For more information on the artist visit

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