Public art is usually something like this:
It’s an abstract sculpture, usually a low-maintenance metal like galvanized steel, and just plopped somewhere green like this marina or the center of a traffic circle. But does anyone know where this is? Does this have anything that says, “X Location,” screaming out at you? Is it in North America? Is it in Europe? Is it from a place that identifies itself with Western culture, or Eastern? How do you know? Could it possibly be a concept rendered in an advanced 3D program? Smooth metal is, after all, one of the easiest things to render… This piece is so impersonal, it isn’t memorable at all. Vancouver, BC, you have done so many rights, but this just feels weak.
Why isn’t more civic-purchased public art be specific to their community? Is it just a ‘safer’ investment to simply purchase non-specific works? Who would be mad over purchasing or commissioning something more personal to the municipality they reside in?
This is one of the wind sculptures in my hometown of Stevenson, Washington. Stevenson is in the National Scenic Area of the Columbia Gorge. This edges on my point of making public art more personal to the municipality which it resides in, but still doesn’t hit it spot on- it is, after all, still a bunch of abstract shapes pieced together cast in mostly steel. The only difference here is that all of the pieces move with the wind. Stevenson is in the heart of the Wind Surfing Capital of the World, aside from a few places in New Zealand, and we get constant winds- not gusts- of 30mph many days of the year. Note that while this sculpture has been there long enough for the large circular rusty piece near the bottom, hooligans have never sought out to break the delicate multi-colored glass pieces highlighting each branch. It’s slightly more memorable than the piece above because it has multiple coors and it actually moves constantly.
Any guesses on where this piece is? Who bought it? Why?
This is in Parc de Chaudfontaine, Belgium, a city park. This was created by Mehmet Ali Uysal for the city. It makes someone think from another angle of man’s domination over the Earth, no? Does it scream Belgium? Probably not to Americans, or anybody who hasn’t been there. It’s very unique and memorable, however, and because it’s in Belgium it hasn’t been graffitied whatsoever.
I bet that’s a pain to mow.
So, what would your city’s unique public art piece look like? Would it be a sculpture, painting, or a secret viewpoint of a bridge that only then revealed its true genius? Let myself and everyone else know in the comments below!
Photo Credit: linked directly to source page.