Art That Hits Home
by Heather Shayne Blakeslee
Income inequality and pollution in Philadelphia might not seem like they would serve as inspiration for the city’s creatives, but celebrated Philadelphia papercut artist Joe Boruchow has been doing political work for years. He routinely draws attention to what he sees as the unchecked greed of capitalism and the bloody freakshow of American politics.
One of his latest works is “Vivere” which depicts the super yacht of Philadelphia Energy Solutions CEO Phil Rinaldi sailing away from the city amid the polluting stacks of his refinery, with nothing but bones left atop rooftops.
While vivere—the name of Rinaldi’s yacht—means “to live,” Boruchow, who lives in South Philadelphia, doesn’t mince words about what a possible expansion of the refinery’s operations would mean for his city.
“Making Philadelphia a petrochemical manufacturing import/export hub is not a good deal for the citizens of Philadelphia,” Boruchow told Grid. “The companies involved belong to an opportunistic religion where not making maximum profit is the greatest sin. They have mastered the art of externalizing costs to the poorest and least represented.”
Boruchow took his inspiration for the piece from a quote from Rinaldi that he found on the luxury yachting and lifestyle website superyachts.com, in which Rinaldi described the process of outfitting and customizing his 116 foot Italian-made vessel. A used version of Rinaldi’s yacht currently retails for over $9 million.
“A mega yacht not only represents your tastes, but is also, and most of all, a way to express yourself, to show who you have become over the course of your life,” Rinaldi told the website. “I wanted the vessel to reflect my personality as far as possible.”