Bucks County Herald

Large inflatable sculptures visit Michener Art Museum



One of Frank Hyder’s large-scale inflatable heads near the intersection of Broad and Cherry streets in Philadelphia.

Beginning Nov. 10, the James A. Michener Art Museum will present “Frank Hyder: The Janis Project,” a multimedia exhibition that showcases the work of sculptor and painter Frank Hyder.

Featuring a series of large-scale inflatable heads and accompanying watercolors, Hyder’s Janis Project defies traditional methods of exhibition and encourages dialogue about art in public spaces. The sculptures will be on view to the public through Feb. 23. Programs and additional information can be found at MichenerArtMuseum.org.

Hyder, who splits his time between Philadelphia and Miami, has become known for his unique integrations of painting and sculpture. His latest work, titled The Janis Project, has garnered international attention during its travels throughout Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.

Comprised of more than a dozen large-scale, double-faced inflatable sculptures of heads, The Janis Project draws on themes of unity and equality and invites the public to consider issues that often divide people as humans.

“With The Janis Project, I intended to engage people with art in surprising places,” said Hyder of his project. “Monumental sculpture is usually found in clearly designated public spaces and museums; my installations are random and almost always surprising. Toy-like yet carrying meaning, the heads are at once disarming while also evoking humor and wonder. They are sculpture, they are paintings, they are culture.”

The sculptures, which are inspired by the Moai of Easter Island, the Olmec heads, and the ancient Roman god of new endeavors, present two faces with two distinct skin colors and a unique adornment of face paint.

A series of watercolors documenting the public’s response to these heads as the exhibition traveled the world will accompany the sculptures.

Through Oceania Cruise Line’s Artist-in-Residence program, Hyder’s Janis Project has traveled the entire coast of Europe from Istanbul to St. Petersburg. It has been to Israel, Africa, North, South and Central America, passed through the Panama Canal, and been seen from Singapore to Beijing in Asia.

Hyder began making monumental inflatable sculptures in 2008 for a group show named “Giants in the City,” part of Miami Art Basel. After a visit to Easter Island in 2015, the Janis Project began.

Hyder is also known for several of his public art works, including three murals through the City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program: “Hanging Garden of I-95,” “Honey’s Garden” and “Bell’s Pond.”

The sculptures will be on view at the Michener Art Museum in the Outdoor Sculpture Garden from Nov. 10 to Feb. 23. The watercolors will be on view in the Bette and Nelson Pfundt Gallery from Nov. 24 to Feb. 17.

Exhibition and programming-related information can be found at MichenerArtMuseum.org.




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