A new piece of Danny DeVito art is hanging around South Philly — literally — and as art collector Ongo Gablogian might say, it’s totally derivative.
Baltimore-based street artist Reed BMore has been dangling his intricate, poignant, and pop-culture-inspired wire sculptures on Philly’s utility cables and streetlights since 2016, but his latest work may be his greatest masterpiece to date — at least for fans of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
While some believed the thin wire sculpture that appeared last month hanging from the telephone cables at Broad Street and Washington Avenue was supposed to be Philadelphia favorite son Benjamin Franklin — given his thick glasses and whacked hairdo — it’s actually Philadelphia’s insane third cousin, Danny DeVito, as his It’s Always Sunny character, Frank Reynolds, playing eccentric art collector Ongo Gablogian.
In the season 11 episode “Dee Made a Smut Film,” Reynolds goes undercover to a Philly art gallery as Gablogian to try to get the gallery’s owner to come to the gang’s bar, Paddy’s Pub, for an art opening.
In an Instagram post about the sculpture on Feb. 18, Reed said the scene was probably one of his favorites from the show and he hoped “our Lord and savior," DeVito, will watch over Philadelphians.
Reed’s Philly works were first reported by Conrad Benner on his popular Philadelphia street art blog, Streets Dept, in 2017.
“Reed’s pieces are famously thin, so that the majority of people walking or driving through the intersection will not notice the artwork,” Benner wrote.
Indeed, one hung for about two years at Second and Market Streets in Old City, but was no longer there as of Tuesday. Mayoral spokesperson Kelly Cofrancisco said the city did not remove the sculpture, but it would not allow it there either.
“It is a safety hazard as these installations could be hit by large trucks or fall on pedestrians,” she said.
What appears to be the first post on Reed’s Instagram page of one of his works in Philly was dated June 2016 and showed a little girl hanging from an ivy-covered swing near the Divine Lorraine Hotel in North Philly.
“Drove towards this totally unaware of what could be dangling in the distance. We SQUEALED with delight as we got closer and it became clear,” a Philadelphian who goes by instagramorrissey commented on the photo. “Felt enlightened and in a special club as we watched so many pass this treasure unaware and self-absorbed. We’re hooked and spreading the word! Disciples.”
According to the profile of Reed in the Baltimore Sun, he creates the sculptures in advance and hangs them on cables and streetlights using a telescoping painter’s pole.
It’d be more Philly of him if he just climbed the utility poles. While they were greased.