Wednesday, September 28, 2011

$750,000 public art sculpture erected in Ann Arbor. Reaction predictable.

The much bally-hooed $750K "public art" sculpture is being erected in front of the new city hall/courthouse build as I write. The public reaction as gauged in the comments section of Ann is about as would be expected. One commenter guessed that if you edit out the hostile Ypsilanti and neighboring township resident's comments the actual city residents and taxpayers (i.e., those who actually paid for this thing) would be around 50/50 pro and con. Somehow I doubt that.

Public art is a great idea that preserves history and adds character to any city. But it has to be good art that is relevant and expressive of the character of the people, place, and time. People go to Europe to tour London, Paris, Rome and the rest to view their great and historic public art. Me, I wouldn't walk the eight blocks it would take it view this thing. (Might ride my bike though.) This monstrosity, imported from Germany no less, is just an over-priced and esthetically weak series metal beams. I'd rather have a life-sized statue of the late Shakey Jake in Liberty Square Park made from old beer and soda cans donated by local residents and rendered by an Ann Arbor based artist. Now that would be meaningful, unique to Ann Arbor (just like Jake was), and people would make it a point to go see it. I know I would. But our Public Art Committee knows better I guess.