An Appreciation of Leonard Baskin
Words by Heather Shayne Blakeslee // Images by Christopher Spencer
“On the plaza of the circular driveway just outside the north tower, sits a three-figure, allegorical sculpture by the figurative artist Leonard Baskin (1922 - 2000), funded in 1966 by Philadelphia’s Percent for Art Program. In “Young Man, Old Man, the Future,” a disturbing bird creature faces off with two human figures who presumably see different things when their vision stretches out toward a distant time. The larger, older, seated figure looks stoically at certain death, and the younger man, who stands at the same height as the seated figure—hand on an insouciantly-cocked hip—presumably sees possibility.
The large bird that towers over both of them—its outsized feet fitted with menacing talons, its anthropomorphized face a cipher, and its body and wings no shape or size to actually fly—is signature Baskin. Though he worked across many mediums and often worked with the human form, he returned, again and again, to the raptor. ”
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