Thursday Salute to Originals: The Red Ball Project

Say goodbye to a time that required art to be hung on the wall or mounted on a pedestal, and hello to a new age in which art is meant to be playful, engaging, and provocative! Artists around the world have chosen to relocate their canvases from minimalist galleries to dynamic streets, and temporary installations are evolving as one of the most favored forms of art. Kurt Perschke, a New York City artist, proved that a simple red ball mixed with a little creativity can allow the public to unleash their imagination while having a good laugh!

Kurt Perschke conceived the idea for the RedBall Project in 2001, and has been inspiring pedestrians to take a second look at under-appreciated urban areas for over 11 years. It all began when Arts in Transit, a public art agency based in St. Louis, MO, asked Perschke to propose a series of installations for various sites around the city center. After countless weeks of frustration, Perschke drew an oversized red ball under a St. Louis Bridge to humor himself, and the project was born.

RedBall’s success in St. Louis inspired Perschke to use his commission to carry the project overseas to Barcelona. The lighthearted nature of the design began to make headlines, and Perschke was asked to replicate the installation in Sydney, Australia. Since then, the project has debuted in major cities around the world, including Chicago, Toronto, Scottsdale, St. Louis, Grand Rapids, Portland, Taipei, Sydney, Perth, Barcelona, Abu Dhabi, and London!

Perschke travels to cities for 2-3 weeks at a time, and places the RedBall in a variety of locations that are not only overlooked by pedestrians, but have a humorous juxtaposition with the installation; expanding 15 feet in diameter and weighing 250 pounds, the enormous red vinyl ball is comical in nearly any location! Perschke relies on cherry pickers and city workers that scale bridges and buildings to inflate RedBall on each site, picking unusual locations that not only draw visitors, but highlight the nooks and crannies of urban life.

Transcending the cities, locations, and cultures of nearly every continent on Earth, the RedBall Project has proven the universal quality of art. Perschke plans to continue his innovative installation for many years to come, believing that “people take it on. They start thinking about where it’s going to go, where it could go, cities it’s been to. Each city has a story and it’s a story around the globe, and I think people connect to that.” We salute Perschke’s whimsical approach to turning the standard notions of art upside down!

Credits: The Red Ball Project, Arch Daily