Art Matters: ‘Bridges’ by Roberto Lugo

A ceramic vase with the face of the artist’s father on one side and Benjamin Franklin’s on the other is on view in the Van-Pelt Dietrich Library Center.

The front and back of the artwork titled “Bridges” by Robert Lugo.
Roberto lugo (b. 1981)
“bridges” 2019
Stoneware, luster, and enamel
Gift by the artist

Location: Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center, 3420 Walnut St., first floor, Moelis lounge


This ceramic vase is 30 inches high and 22 inches wide and sits on a graffitied pedestal. A portrait of Roberto Lugo’s father, Gilberto Lugo, is on one side, and a portrait of Penn founder Benjamin Franklin is on the other. A ceramicist, social activist, poet, painter, and professor, the artist placed this work at the center of his exhibition “God Complex: Different Philadelphia,” at Penn’s Arthur Ross Gallery in the fall of 2021.

“It became this centerpiece for how I would think about the rest of the work, these relationships between different Philadelphias, two really different experiences,” Lugo said at the exhibition opening. “My Philadelphia exists in the same Philadelphia that Penn exists in.” In giving the artwork to the University, Lugo said: “To think about my father being in Penn’s collection is really inspiring for me … I’m really proud of that.”

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“Art Matters” is a new series in Penn Today highlighting the many works of fine art on and around Penn’s campus.

Penn President Liz Magill looks at the artwork “Bridges” by Robert Lugo in the ARthur Ross Gallery.
Penn President Liz Magill visiting the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center where “Bridges” is currently on view.