Contrafuerte Philadelphia

Image by Bronwyn Lepore

Contrafuerte – Outdoor sculpture

Artist Miguel Antonio Horn who studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (Certificate 2006) “creates large-scale sculptures using digital and analog processes across a variety of mediums” that speak to the struggles of contemporary life, especially here in Philly where he and his wife live with their 2 kids. As he notes on his site “my art is constantly responding to societal issues and that is informed by my community and the problems they are confronting every day.” His work is engaged and engaging.

His latest public sculpture “Contrafuerte” (buttress) (an amazing August 2021 gift for the city – thanks to the Percent for Art program) is comprised of eight entangled nude bodies attempting to hold up a small concrete bridge that crosses a gritty Cuthbert St between 12th and 13th streets across from Philadelphia’s Reading Terminal Market. The somewhat Sisyphean nature of their task pronounces the importance of communal effort (better to engage with others) despite the overwhelming struggles faced. The figures are roughly triple the size of an average-sized person and are made up of thousands of aluminum plates “meticulously designed to [create figures] integrate into the existing built environment.”

It’s an eye-dazzling piece in somewhat ugly surroundings. The day I visited, the alley was trash-strewn and dirty which strangely (or not) suited the subject. Regard from all angles and ponder our existential plight.

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Details about this spot



North 12th Street and Cuthbert Street , Philadelphia

Opening Times

24 hours daily




Last Changed Date: 2016-05-19 11:45:13 +0200 (Thu, 19 May 2016)