As I recently had the occasion to visit Penn for the first time in several years, I had the pleasure of reacquainting myself with the charm of the campus. Only one thing mars the calm beauty of the center of campus: the large white sculpture of a button folded on one side that sits in front of the Van Pelt Library.
This button does not in the least fit with its surroundings. It is too large; it is too white; it is too devoid of meaning. Its color does not match nor its style complement any of the buildings around it, nor does it balance the statue of Benjamin Franklin, which it faces. It does not (I hope) symbolize any of the values for which Penn stands. In its current location, this folded button symbolizes nothing, except perhaps bad taste; it is simply an obtrusive eyesore.
Many things could be done to improve the situation. Perhaps it could be traded to the Rodin Museum for The Thinker; or maybe The Gates of Hell -- something with a bit of meaning, for a change. If not, there are many out of-the-way little nooks around campus that the button could adorn. I'm sure some school, building, or department could be persuaded to take it (threats to cut off funding might be of use here). Someone, somewhere in the University could find a creative use for it; there could even be a contest. Let's not continue having a folded button as the centerpiece of our otherwise beautiful campus.
PAUL FAHN, '84 C
New York City
Document URL: http://www.english.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/button-editorial.html
Last modified: Wednesday, 18-Jul-2007 16:24:45 EDT