Association for Public Art’s Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies in The New York Times, Forbes, and More

19 Sep 2017

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Fireflies is featured on the cover of The New York Times "Arts" section on September 16, 2017.

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Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies, 2017. Photo by Jeff Fusco, courtesy of Association for Public Art.

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Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies, 2017. Photo by Jeff Fusco, courtesy of Association for Public Art.

Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies, 2017. Photo by Jeff Fusco, courtesy of Association for Public Art.

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Cai Guo-Qiang: Fireflies, 2017. Photo by Jeff Fusco, courtesy of Association for Public Art.

Fireflies, the Association for Public Art’s large-scale, interactive installation created by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang, has received extensive media coverage since its debut on September 14, including features and interviews in The New York Times, Forbes, and Artsy, among others. On view through October 8, Fireflies is composed of 27 custom pedicabs adorned with 900 luminous lanterns, making the work Cai’s largest public art project in the US in a decade.

“Not every street in America deserves a birthday party, but this city chose to honor its 100-year-old Benjamin Franklin Parkway on Thursday with a mesmerizing centennial celebration,” wrote Barbara Pollack for The New York Times.

Artsy highlighted the emotive qualities of Fireflies: “It’s hard not to feel delight at the sight of this brigade of colorful lanterns. Suspended on curved rods sprouting from the tops and sides of the pedicabs are a constellation of animated objects and characters—robots, grasshoppers, tigers, planets, submarines, ladybugs, rockets, high heels, watermelons, helicopters, pandas, ice cream cones.”

In an interview with Forbes, Cai described the creative spirit that fueled the ambitious project. “As opposed to celebrating the Benjamin Franklin Parkway with a grandiose monumental artwork, I decided to have these pedicabs that are like fireflies. It’s a participatory project. Anyone who wants to be part of it can celebrate their freedom,” he said.

Noting the artist’s departure from his known techniques with gunpowder and fireworks, The Philadelphia Inquirer described Fireflies as an “evocative homage to the Parkway” that displays “a quieter Cai, reflective, a bit nostalgic. But an artist still concerned with time, light, and memory.”

Learn more about Fireflies on Lonely Planet, NBC10 , and CBS3.

Watch Cai Guo-Qiang discuss audience engagement in public art.>>