“Psychylustro” Installation Adds International Contribution To Mural Capital of the World

Andrea Van Grinsven, for GPA -- Berlin-based artist Katharina Grosse has brought her signature vibrant painting style to Philadelphia with her recent “psychylustro” exhibition, presented by the City of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program.

Jane Golden, director of the Mural Arts Program, commissioned Grosse to transform a five-mile stretch of the Amtrak rail corridor to reflect the vibrancy of Philadelphia and communicate this to travelers commuting to and from the city. In putting together the installation, Grosse and her team of assistants sprayed seven sites with a different color of paint.

Though it was completed on May 17, the installation is meant to transform over time with changes in the environment and the buildings covered by the work.

Image 1: Grosse’s work covers industrial buildings, rubble, and the environment surrounding the train tracks. A press release from the Mural Arts Program describes the work as a “real-time landscape painting that explores shifting scale, perspective and the passage of time.”



Image 2: The work, concentrated between the 30th St. and North Philadelphia train stations, is viewable by passengers on SEPTA Regional Rail, Amtrak, and NJ Transit lines. Those taking SEPTA should choose the Chestnut Hill West or Trenton lines.



Image 3: Since 34,000 passengers travel through the Amtrak Northeast Corridor every day, many travelers will experience this public art exhibition.



Image 4: Train riders were given a phone number that allows them to follow along with an audio guide for the exhibition. The guide includes a conversation with the artist, a history of the train corridor and an audio interpretation of psychylustroby sound artist Jesse Kudler.


Image 5: The Mural Arts Program has produced over 3,600 murals since it began in 1984. Because of the city’s massive collection of outdoor public art, it has earned international praise as the mural capital of the world.


Image 6: This mural, not part of the “psychylustro” exhibit, is also viewable on the train route. Many of the murals that are part of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program are community-engaging works like this one; however, the Mural Arts Program hopes that the “psychlustro” exhibition by an international artist will mark an “expansion into projects with internationally acclaimed fine artists.”