Black Holes

Black Holes by Ryan McGinness. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • location Science Center
  • Neighborhood

    West Philadelphia

  • completion date

    October 11, 2013

About the Project 

Multimedia modern artist Ryan McGinness’ Black Holes series is an exploration of how ideas of outer space and mind space can intertwine, combining the worlds of pop art, science, skateboarding, graphic design, and public art all onto one piece of vinyl. Located at the University City Science Center, the mural features layers of horizons that create a feeling of portals into an infinite inner space, and a strong gravitational pull on the senses.

Black Holes by Ryan McGinness. Photo by Steve Weinik.

For Mural Arts, working with McGinness is both homage to classic public art and muralism, and outreach to entirely new communities and ideas by bridging the gap between the arts and the sciences. Science, particularly complex physics, can be intimidating, but McGinness’ black holes invite viewers to dwell in the world of science through visual art. For Mural Arts, this type of mural presents an opportunity to reach and engage entirely new audiences in through visual mediums.

We were intrigued by the idea of partnering with Mural Arts Philadelphia because of their demonstrated expertise in using art as a place-making tool. Ryan McGinness’ “Black Hole” series is an interesting blend of art and science that aligns with our vision of the Science Center campus as a place to explore the intersection of art, science and technology.

- Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA. Science Center President & CEO

Photo by Steve Weinik.

The timing of McGinness’ mural is especially poignant because it coincides with the restoration work Mural Arts is undertaking on Philadelphia’s Keith Haring mural, We the Youth. McGinness’ work is in close conversation with Haring; like Haring, McGinness’ artistic endeavors straddle extremes from visually simple and iconographic to layered and abstract, while retaining a bold pop art sensibility and an interest in printmaking. Also like Haring, McGinness blurs the lines of fine art, public art, and product, equally at home producing public art, tee shirts, paintings for private collectors, and/or sneakers.

McGinness poses with the mural. Photo by Steve Weinik.