Come Ride with 1,000 Fireflies

Cai Guo Qiang. Photo by Jeff Fusco Photography. Courtesy of the Association of Public Art.
Photo by Jeff Fusco Photography. Courtesy of the Association of Public Art.

Cai Guo-Qiang Adorns Bike Cabs with Lanterns in Philadelphia

Celebrating the 100th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Philadelphia this September will involve no candles or cake — just fireflies. Artist Cai Guo-Qiang’s fireflies in fact.

The artist has outfitted 27 bike cabs with hundreds of lanterns in fanciful shapes of rockets, aliens, stars, pandas, globes and more. The pedicabs will cycle up and down the parkway, giving free rides to visitors from Sept. 15 – Oct. 8.

Cai_guo_qiang
Photo by Jeff Fusco Photography. Courtesy of the Association of Public Art.

Nocturnal Inspiration

The artist’s inspiration for the project were his memories of the lantern festivals he observed and participated in as a child in China.

The Association for Public Art commissioned the work. It calls for community members, passersby and tourists to “actively experience the grand boulevard as a nocturnal dreamscape conjured from the languorous movements of bobbing clusters of glowing handcrafted Chinese lanterns and groups of customized peddle vehicles.”

A Lit Return

Cai Guo-Qiang is no stranger to the City of Brotherly Love. His pyrotechnic Fallen Blossoms: Explosion Project took place on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2009.

Fireflies marks the artist’s largest public project in the U.S. in a decade. For Fireflies details, check out the Association for Public Art website. You’ll find info on how to hail one of the lantern-lit cabs or even how to make a reservation for two.

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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.   

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