Category Archives: Bart M.

One Penn Sculpture, Revisited

By Nicole C. Maloy, W’95

On a recent day trip with friends to visit a few art museums in Washington, D.C., I saw a familiar sight. This sculpture, on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, is the roughly two-foot-tall “King Solomon” by Alexander Archipenko. I noticed it and stopped. “I’ve seen this before,” I said. “But bigger. Way bigger. I think it’s somewhere on the Penn campus.”

But where? I could not remember, so I snapped this photo for reference and made a mental note to keep my eyes open for it.


“I shall call him ‘Mini-Me.'”

Solomon-DClabel Back at Penn the following week, I was on my way to a meeting when I saw it. Eureka! There it was on 36th Street between Locust Walk and Walnut Street, and I was right. It is way, way bigger.



For more on the King Solomon sculpture in particular, check out this Frankly Penn blog post by Bart Miltenberger. But do yourself a favor and take a moment to learn about some of Philadelphia’s other outdoor sculptures – where they are, what they represent, and who brought them from concept to reality – from the Clothespin to the China Gate, from various memorials and tributes to our own beloved “Covenant” in Superblock, known more commonly among students and alumni by (ahem) a slightly different name. Enjoy.


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Filed under Bart M., Nicole M., Philadelphia, The Arts

Noticing King Solomon

Author: Bart M.

Even though he is fourteen feet tall, I have walked past King Solomon for years and years and barely noticed him. He’s been standing there quietly since my sophomore year at Penn. Until today, I never gavehim much more than a quick glance. This afternoon, I spent an extra minute admiring King Solomon and then I looked him up on Penn’s website to see what his story is.

Truly one of the coolest pieces of art at Penn, the bronze statue King Solomon (1963) was sculpted by Alexander Archipenko and it keeps watch on 36th Street between Locust Walk and Walnut Street (across from the old Hillel and what is now the new Annenberg Public Policy Center). King Solomon  was given to Penn in honor of the inauguration of President Judith Rodin on October 21, 1994 by Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey H. Loria .

Check out how the cubist shape and form of Solomon mimics/compliments the tree behind it. Not intentional, I’m sure, but cool nonetheless.

Notice Archipenko’s signature on the left side.

And the plaque at Solomon’s feet:

And here is a view from behind Solomon – something most people have never taken the time to see. The juxtaposition of smooth and rough texture is pretty remarkable. And for a reference point, that is the new Annenberg Public Policy Center just across 36th Street.

And something else I just learned: Archipenko did not normally work on a monumental scale. But shortly before his death in 1964, he completed a 4-foot King Solomon designed for enlargement. Instructions were left with his widow, who supervised the casting of a 14.5-foot, 1.5-ton version in 1968. This is the Solomon that stands on 36th Street. Archipenko’s original plan was for Solomon to be over sixty feet tall.

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Bart M., Fine Art, Historical, The Arts

No Students, No Lines

Author: Bart Miltenberger, C’97

Since the spring semester ended, an eerie quiet has descended on campus.  And, though it’s strange to head down Locust Walk and see only a few summer students around, there are certain aspects of life at Penn that do become a little easier when the students are gone. For me, one of those advantages is short lines at the food trucks.

When I first came to Penn, I was a little skeeved out by the concept of the food truck. Where these things even remotely sanitary? Well, maybe, maybe not. But I can tell you that since my first food truck meal back in 1993, I have probably eaten from food trucks a couple thousand times and never gotten sick once. I absolutely can’t say the same for restaurant eating.

Here are my current top three recommendations in case you happen to be near West Philly any time soon:

Don Memo’s (38th Street just north of Walnut) – corn flour tacos and burritos as big as your forearm. The ingredients are fresh. They cut up the avocado and chop the tomatoes and cilantro right there in front of you while they make your food. It’s not the cheapest truck around, and the workers are fairly slow, but when the lines are short, you can get your order in ten minutes. Much better than the usual 45 minutes during the school year. If students are willing to wait that long with their busy schedules,you know the food is good. In fact, it’s easily one of the best trucks at Penn and probably in the whole city.

Magic Carpet (at the bottom of Locust Walk at 34th and Walnut) – the line for this vegetarian food truck can be 25 or 30 people long during the school year. At lunch today, there were only five or six people in line. The food is prepared fresh every morning at an off-site kitchen. The workers are friendly (one is the owner), and they always play music to listen to while you wait. My favorite dish is the Magic Meatball “meal” which consists of tofu meatballs cooked in a marinara sauce served over mixed rice (brown and long grain) and vegetables. And a nice warm piece of pita bread. It’s delicious, although the garlic and onion content is rather high so when I go home and kiss my wife she always seems to know when I’ve had the Magic Meatball. Even gum doesn’t help. Oh, well. It’s a fair price to pay for a great and healthy meal.

Hemo’s (on Spruce Street just below the 37th Street entrance to the Quad) – this truck mainly features grilled chicken sandwiches served on long hoagie rolls. On the surface, nothing all that special…that is until they top it off with “Hemo Sauce.” My discriminating palate tells me that Hemo Sauce is probably a mix of mayonnaise and a sweet Dijon mustard. That’s it. But somehow, it does make the sandwich taste really good.  And Hemo’s also makes a delicious egg and cheese breakfast sandwich too.

Check them out, if you can. Just keep it between us, so we can keep the lines manageable over these next few student-free months.

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Filed under Bart M., Campus Life, Food Fiends

Practice Rooms

Author: Bart Miltenberger, C’97

Many moons ago (1993-1997), when I was an undergrad here at Penn, I played trumpet in the jazz ensemble as well as in a few other extracurricular bands. I wasn’t all that serious about playing music back then – I did it just for fun. Because of my novice status though,  I often wished I had a place to practice. But back then, Penn didn’t have a lot of space for practice. Oh, yes, there was a music building, and there were three practice rooms in its basement, but those rooms were beyond creepy (roaches, cobwebs, sewage pipes) and acoustically disastrous. Sometimes, I resorted to finding a boiler room in a dorm to get in my trumpet-practicing done. Needless to say, I didn’t get around to it all that much, and hence, I didn’t really improve.

Now, things are much different on campus. There are actual undergraduate music majors (in my time, most of the music majors focused on composition versus a particular instrument), and many of them are playing way above the level I ever achieved as a student. And perhaps most importantly, since the Music Building has been renovated (!), there are multiple places for students to get in the hours of practiced needed to reach that higher level of skill.

There are now five practice rooms with regularly-tuned Yamaha upright pianos. This is one my favorite one of those to play in:

Practice room on the second floor of the newly-renovated Music Building

This room was a gift made in part by my old boss, former Alumni Relations AVP, Bob Alig. The room itself was dedicated in honor of Paul Williams, the former president of Penn Alumni. Thanks for the nice room guys!

Here’s a look inside the room:

Here’s a look inside – nice piano!

If the rooms at the Music Building are in use, two more practice rooms are available on the fourth floor of the renovated Fisher-Bennett Hall. And, if you’re really lucky, the Rose Recital Hall (also located on the fourth floor of Fisher-Bennett) will be available and you can practice your trumpet in a fabulous, large, and acoustically-pleasant room. If it’s unlocked, there is a wonderful Steinway grand piano in the Recital Hall.

If that room is taken up by classes, there is always the option of the ten practice rooms in the basement of Irvine Auditorium. Still another option is signing out a practice room at Platt Performing Arts House. The rooms there are multipurpose. You might be practicing in a room that was just used for a dance lesson or an Indian music ensemble.

Again, all of these practice spaces at Penn are relatively new. The University has certainly made a commitment to the arts at Penn. This is great for the whole Penn community.

Now. There’s a trumpet waiting to be practiced. I recommend starting with long tones:


Filed under Bart M., Fine Art