A sea monster has temporarily taken up residence in Building 611 at the Navy Yard, with huge, inflatable purple tentacles that emerge from the windows, arc toward the sky, and are big enough to be seen from the air on flights into Philly.
Unlike the creature Gritty from the Wells Fargo Center nearby, this monster is officially art. It can also be seen from streets in the Navy Yard, as well as from the Delaware River.
The tentacles were created by the United Kingdom street art duo Filthy Luker and Pedro Estrellas, whose surrealist inflatables appear regularly at music festivals like Chicago's Lollapalooza and Japan's Fuji Rock Festival.
Their work came to Philadelphia through a partnership between the Navy Yard and the art collective Group X, a group of Philly artists and curators whose members are anonymous.
"Earlier this year, Group X pitched us on doing this piece," said Jennifer Tran, director of Navy Yard marketing and communications. "Out of all the designs, this one spoke to us because we thought it was really unique. It's never been seen before in Philadelphia. We thought it really pushed the boundaries."
The installation at the Navy Yard is the largest one of tentacles the street-art duo has ever done.
Twenty inflated tentacles between 32 and 40 feet are sprouting from Building 611, a warehouse built in 1942 at the intersection of 13th Street and Flagship Avenue. The artwork was presented to the public on Monday, which also happens to be National Octopus Day. The artists began their installation in late September.
This is Group X's first art installation in the city, and Tran said the collective is interested in changing how public art is perceived in the city.
"We're aiming to make artwork enjoyable for all," Group X said in a news release. "We want to break through the proverbial, and, in this case physical, walls that can too often keep people from feeling invited into the arts world."