Officials in Philadelphia Have Removed a Beloved Public Art Installation to Make Way for Upcoming Renovations

'Your Move,' installed outside the city’s Municipal Services Building since 1996, will now be 'disposed of.'

Your Move (1996), alongside Jacques Lipchitz's statue, Government of the People (1976), outside the Municipal Services Building Plaza in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Images.

A public art installation beloved by Pennsylvanians is being removed by officials in Philadelphia nearly three decades after it was installed. The work will now be “disposed of.”

The work, titled Your Move, was created by Daniel Martinez, Renee Petropoulis, and Roger White, and installed in Thomas Paine Plaza outside the city’s Municipal Services Building in 1996.

The sculpture features larger-than-life pieces from board games such as chess, Sorry, Parcheesi, and Monopoly made from steel, concrete, polyurethane paint, and fiberglass. It was commissioned by Philadelphia’s Office of Arts and Culture, according to the Association for Public Art.

Philadelphia officials said in a statement that the work was being removed permanently because of the upcoming renovations to the plaza as well as the poor condition of the artwork and the ongoing expenses of its maintenance.

“We express our gratitude for the great impact that Your Move has had on our community,” the statement read. “We understand and share the feelings of loss and sadness experienced by those who have connected deeply with this cherished public art installation. Its removal will certainly create a void for many who appreciate its beauty and significance to Philadelphia and Center City.”

Your Move (1996), alongside Jacques Lipchitz’s statue, Government of the People (1976), outside the Municipal Services Building Plaza in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Photo: Paul Marotta/Getty Images.

The work initially included 45 game pieces meant to symbolize the journey of life “from child’s play to adult obligation,” according to city officials, but only 34 pieces currently remain at the site.

The decision to remove the remaining pieces came after a review by city officials found that the materials were not durable enough to withstand continued wear and tear from weather conditions, graffiti, and skateboarders.

The city gave the artists the option to repossess the sculpture but they declined. The game pieces will now be temporarily held at a secure facility.

It was not immediately clear how officials plan on “disposing” of the artwork but the artists have requested that the game pieces not be given away or sold, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The work was removed the same day the announcement was made.

“Given their location at Thomas Paine Plaza, a major spot for protests in Philly, the giant game pieces have often dripped with irony,” Stephanie Farr wrote in the Inquirer, along with a photograph of National Guard members standing like toy soldiers next to a giant Sorry game piece.

“We ask the city to keep what Your Move brought to Philly in mind: Childlike wonder and whimsy; irony and subversive criticism too. The next move is yours Philly, now let’s see what you do.”


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