May 17, 2017

“I had hoped that we had a law like this in place a long time ago."

"Not that the city hasn’t included some public art in our building projects over the years but not to the extent that I wish we had and would have if we had an ordinance in place."

Oh, hell, no.

Why would you remove choice? The public art is almost always bad. It's not going to get any better if it's required. Required art. Disgusting.

Also disgusting: Lawmakers who just have to pass laws about everything they supposedly care about.

And check out the photograph at the link: That's the kind of art these people are enthusing about. That glass monstrosity cost the state $750,000:
Like many pieces of public art around the state, the work was a product of Wisconsin’s Percent for Art Fund. The program, which required that at least .02 percent of construction costs for new or substantially renovated state facilities be spent on public art, was repealed by Gov. Scott Walker and the state Legislature in 2011 and is no more.
Thank you, Scott Walker. You can see why the lawmakers at the Madison city level feel compelled to fill the gap left by the terrible Scott Walker.

The $750,000 doesn't count cost of cleaning all the loopy swoopy glass:
Workers at the Kohl Center painstakingly clean the glass in place twice each year using chicken feathers and cloth baby diapers.
Twice a year. Chicken feathers and cloth baby diapers....

110 comments:

Freder Frederson said...

For someone with a BFA, you sure are hostile to artists. I guess you are just bitter that you couldn't make it as an artist.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

As a fellow native Tacoman, I'm so very sorry about Dale Chihuly, everyone.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I saw Althouse's words 'glass monstrosity' before I even opened the link and thought 'uh oh.'

Ron Winkleheimer said...

In Murano the good glass is kept out of sight. If the proprietor of the shop thinks you might have enough money to afford it, he will show you to a door with one of those velvet ropes strung to keep the hoi polloi out. Behind that door is high quality glass art work. Each piece will have a card with it with a catalog number. The actual price of the piece will be in the catalog, simply putting the price on display would be too gauche.

That artwork looks like the junk they sell at the tourist traps next to where the cruise ships dock in Venice. For 5 bucks a pop.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Was not incorrect in my dread.

Todd said...

You want public art? Either do a "go fund me", get a benefactor, or do a damn bake sale! Stop spending the public money on "art welfare" projects.

If you have that much excess tax revenue that you can afford to spend it on stuff like this, give it back to the citizens in the form of lower taxes, they will spend their money better than the government will. Even if they don't, who cares, it is THEIR money!

JohnAnnArbor said...

Ann Arbor either has or had a required art ordinance, for city projects. The new city hall has a strange, modern open urinal out front because of it.

I think it's supposed to have lights, which don't work and rarely have.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Murano glass makers do make abstract pieces, but I think you can see the difference.

https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=fSjkUcR3&id=62A91C334CEE1DFC289F43094D68AFB173F899A8&thid=OIP.fSjkUcR3FXN9EwNIrjCXxwEsDH&q=murano+italy+glass+abstract&simid=608048717827933105&selectedIndex=6&qpvt=murano+italy+glass+abstract&ajaxhist=0

Michael K said...

Freder, like so many lefties, loves those "art" monstrosities.

I was in the Museum of Modern Art in London with my daughter, who does like this stuff.

One "piece" was a board with nails driven into it in the outline of a fish. A string was wound around the nails. I wondered who had to replace the string and how often ?

I didn't see "The Artist's Shit," which I understand is leaking.

Ann Althouse said...

"I had hoped that we had a law like this in place a long time ago."

Do you have to try to screw up your syntax like that? The mind that produced that sentences makes laws that we are stuck following.

I think he meant to say: "I have hoped for a long time that we could have a law like this in place." Or: “We should have put a law like this in place a long time ago."

That idea of hoping in the past for something that still hasn't happened... I guess it's tough.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I don't know about chicken feathers. I assume they mean feather dusters, which I own to dust off items that have nooks and crannies. Cloth baby diapers are the very best for drying glassware. My daughter is long long LONG past the diaper stage. I still buy cloth diapers for drying my crystal stemware and finishing off the mirrors. The best!

Mendota Wall looks like a glass fungus has erupted. 3/4 of a million dollars!!! Yikes. What a waste of money.



Owen said...

The graft and grift around awarding such public art contracts must be a performance art all of its own.

EDH said...

Horsefeathers!

Mark Caplan said...

Art is dead.

MadisonMan said...

Artistes and Architects have zero concept of low-cost maintenance. Ask yourself: How much does it cost to change a lightbulb at the Madison Civic Center. (Link.

Of course, they are not ordinary bulbs, but special constructs specified by the architect.

Big Mike said...

Freder doesn't understand that once upon a time having a BFA meant that one appreciated good art, and understood the difference between good art and bad.

madAsHell said...

Museum of Modern Art in London

You mean the Tate Modern Art Museum on the south side of the Millennium Bridge? It was free admission, and when I went inside I understood why.

The so-called art included an old urinal....albeit under glass.
It also included three white painted panels on a white wall.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

If you want to visit the Sistine Chapel when in Rome (and if you are in Rome I highly recommend it) you have to go through the Vatican's modern art display. The collection is quite extensive and, for modern art, quite good. It takes a good five minutes to make it through the area were the art is on display, at a brisk walking pace. As I said, the art is good, though modern, the area is expertly lit and the art is well displayed. I don't think I saw a single person pause to look at any of it.

Todd said...

Freder Frederson said...

For someone with a BFA, you sure are hostile to artists. I guess you are just bitter that you couldn't make it as an artist.

5/17/17, 9:24 AM


MOST artists don't make it as artists. Even fewer would if the government welfare for artists would stop.

Before bad art became a civil right that all citizens must be subjected to (viewing in public places and fund through taxes) "professional" art was mostly by retainer/contract/benefactor. "Art" survived just fine. Folks want to play with art? Have at it just don't require me to (over) pay for your hobby.

buwaya said...

Colored string around nails was a late 60s-70s fad.

Was very au courant.

The glass mess is very ugly, and indeed seems difficult to maintain. A lot of public art in alternative forms is like that. We had a giant piece made of braided colored rope at the Embarcadero BART station for decades, very much admired by the cognoscenti, in its day. It was uncleanable and eventually all the colors disappeared under grime. BART finally removed it a few years ago.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Of course, they are not ordinary bulbs, but special constructs specified by the architect.

If it was Frank Lloyd Wright, he'd specify the filament's number of coils.

Not too far off, this cartoon.

hiawatha biscayne said...

The Wisconsin State Journal assures us that it's an "important" piece of public art, whatever in the hell that means. Important to who?

TosaGuy said...

Scott Walker while Milwaukee County Executive killed off a very expensive three-story glass blue shirt designed to fit on the outside of an airport parking garage. The money was eventually steered into upgrading the concourses with practical things like modern bathrooms.

It was common sense stuff like that that got him elected three times in a very Democratic county with something like 60 percent of the vote.

EDH said...

“Mendota Wall”?

A more apt name would be "Short and Curlies," as in the government's "got you by the short and curlies."

Ann Althouse said...

"For someone with a BFA, you sure are hostile to artists. I guess you are just bitter that you couldn't make it as an artist."

1. I guarantee you credible artists are just as hostile to that kind of "public art" as I am.

2. I think most art is bad art. I don't foist bad art on anyone. I'm actually proud of that. I think there's too much junk in the world and that less is more and better than nothing is a high standard. I'm meeting that high standard with a lot of nothing...

3. ... except words, which are virtually no clutter at all. I'm proud of my work. And by the way...

4 ... my favorite flavor — as a person with taste impairment — is bitter.

TosaGuy said...

"Colored string around nails was a late 60s-70s fad."

I did it in sixth grade art class. I made a rendition of the Eifel Tower.


Do schools give hammers to a classroom of sixth graders anymore.

Expat(ish) said...

@Mad/@Michael - I love the Tate and try to visit whenever I am in London. Ditto the Perez in Miami. Part of it is that each has some good (to my eye) and great art scattered among the predictable pieces. Part of is that some of the permanent collection pieces grow on me and I come to love them.

I cannot say this for all modern art museums (MOMA, I'm talking to you) but those two, yeah.

I also really enjoy traditional art, but modern art makes me smile a lot more.

I admit it has taken me some time to get there, but more and more I can see and appreciate the craft and choice that modern artists can bring.

Last year the Perez had an exhibit by "book artists" (ex: Brian Dettmer - http://www.boredpanda.com/paper-sculpture-book-surgeon-brian-dettmer/) and it was mesmerizing.

-XC

buwaya said...

Public art doesnt have to be unmaintainable, or ugly.
Back in the day artists were a practical breed, called on for all sorts of non-art projects requiring analysis and insight.
They also explicitly intended to create works that had meaning for the general public, across generations. Their standard of beauty had to be universal, or as close to that as they could get.

Today it seems the prominent ones care more for the transient inside-joke appreciation of a small set of inbred connoisseurs.

Gahrie said...

For someone with a BFA, you sure are hostile to artists.

So if you don't want to spend public money on shitty art that is expensive to maintain you hate artists?

Guess I'm a hater then....

Bill Peschel said...

When I think of Madison, "Cthluhuian horror" comes to mind, so it's accurate in that respect.

grimson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rehajm said...

Responsibly allocating scare resources is an art.

Mrs Whatsit said...

Some of Chihuly's work is stunning and fascinating to behold, especially when you encounter it for the first time. But he does keep doing the same thing over and over again with the multicolored squiggly tubes, so that after a while his pieces are more like sensational tricks of craft than meaningful works of art. This one certainly is hideous, and particularly out of place in an "athletic facility" -- imagine what might happen if a volleyball went astray!

mezzrow said...

We got kneeling naked guys high up on poles outside the new sports arena. The Cultural Council grant seekers were thrilled and we get to explain them to our kids.

Six kneeling figures greet visitors as they gather for events. The figures symbolize the six inhabited continents of the world and silently communicate through the universal language of color. Lights inside the kneelers are programmed to change colors regularly, as if the figures are speaking to one another. By placing the figures atop 30' high poles, the artist forces the viewer to gaze upward towards, what he called, "the beautiful *your city here* sky." The kneeling figures, in proximity to a nearby restored historic church, also evoke a connection between the heavens and the earth.

Tell that to your eight-year-old. Oh, and we paid for them. I make art too (well, music) and after a couple of years going to the council with a tin cup to help us, I realized that they didn't give the grants to create art, they gave them to create and maintain a network of arts administration. Since we had no paid staff (remember actual volunteerism?) while we were providing hours of free music to the community, they really didn't have anything for us because we didn't burn enough money in our pursuit of artistic truth and beauty, and we were self-starters. They weren't as thrilled with self-starters as we imagined they might be.

Imagine that.

Earnest Prole said...

You have to have a heart of glass not to like Dale Chihuly’s work.

grimson said...

I was under the impression that Dale Chihuly's works were somewhat popular. The NY Times looks at his show in the New York Botanical Garden.

It also includes a link to "ARTINFO’s Top 10 Favorite Mean Things That Have Been Said About Dale Chihuly."

Biff said...

hiawatha biscayne said...The Wisconsin State Journal assures us that it's an "important" piece of public art, whatever in the hell that means. Important to who?

It means "important to one constituency's gravy train" and "important to another constituency's need to signal virtue."

PS. How about the "Fourth Plinth" mockeries that now are presented as art in Trafalgar Square? Decline and fall, indeed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_plinth,_Trafalgar_Square

Michael K said...

You mean the Tate Modern Art Museum on the south side of the Millennium Bridge?

Yes. She worked for a while in a gallery in LA that specializes in art that I find unappealing. They had a lot of David Hockney stuff that I don't care for but it is not as bad as some of the stuff in the Tate.

What is interesting to me is that people are paying incredible prices for this stuff as investments.

This seems an example of the Greater Fool Theory. One woman wrote a check for $850,000 for a painting in her gallery.

Kevin said...

Why would you remove choice?

Once you realize 99% of the law is to contain the choice of the people, you begin to finally understand the law.

Freder Frederson said...

MOST artists don't make it as artists. Even fewer would if the government welfare for artists would stop.

The amount of government welfare we spend on artists is a pittance compared to the welfare doled out to the mainly billionaire (or at least 100s of millionaire) owners of professional sports franchises. (The state of Louisiana is shoveling $392 million dollars to billionaire Tom Bensonto keep the Saints and Pelicans in New Orleans. And the New Orleans Saints get a $5 million payment from the state every time the Super Bowl is in New Orleans (not when the Saints are in the Super Bowl).

If you want to get bent out of shape about wasting public dollars on entertainment, that is where to start, not a minuscule tax to fund public art.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

I think most art is bad art.

Sturgeon's Law "Ninety percent of everything is crap".

Kevin said...

For someone with a BFA, you sure are hostile to artists.

Right. Like big media journalists who feel the First Amendment protects them, and only them, so we have art which can only be made by those with the right credentials and standing in society.

Is a clean, well-lighted wall not art? Is graffiti or a mural created by the residents not art? The reality is that any choice is bound to offend some and delight others. The point of the law is to determine who gets to determine what "art" is and who may produce it, such that the offended can be chalked up as "hostile to artists" and collectively dismissed.

"Hostile to artists" is the punchline of the joke being played.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

If you want to get bent out of shape about wasting public dollars on entertainment, that is where to start, not a minuscule tax to fund public art.

I do get bent out of shape about it. I am completely and totally against spending public moneys to subsidize sports franchises. However, they at least can make the argument that the franchise brings the public into the city where money is spent, benefiting both the merchants and government.

Ann Althouse said...

"Some of Chihuly's work is stunning and fascinating to behold, especially when you encounter it for the first time."

I have enjoyed the Chihuly that is prominently displayed at the Milwaukee Art Museum. In this post from 2004, there's a photograph (the last of 9 photographs) of me posing with it.

"But he does keep doing the same thing over and over again with the multicolored squiggly tubes, so that after a while his pieces are more like sensational tricks of craft than meaningful works of art. This one certainly is hideous, and particularly out of place in an "athletic facility" -- imagine what might happen if a volleyball went astray!"

Yes, exactly. It's so inconsistent with the idea of sports.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

@Kevin wins the thread

exiledonmainstreet said...

That Madison exhibit makes me think of a bad sci-fi movie where alien tentacles come out of the walls to attack people.

And yes, I remember the stupid “Blue Shirt” debate about the proposed airport sculpture. The funny thing is that the people who most resent Milwaukee’s reputation as an unsophisticated rust belt, working class city were just dying to have visitors greeted at the airport by the sight of a gigantic blue shirt.

Ann Althouse said...

Man, the comments at that 2004 post are awful!

buwaya said...

But the public likes the circenses part of panem et circenses.
So public funding for civic circuses makes plenty of sense to modern politicians. As much sense today as it made to the Emperor Vespasian 1950 years ago.
Ugly public art however does not please the public.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Man, the comments at that 2004 post are awful!

Posted years later.

Freder Frederson said...

However, they at least can make the argument that the franchise brings the public into the city where money is spent, benefiting both the merchants and government.

You can make that argument, but independent evaluations of the impact of sports teams on local economies, indicate that it is at best, neutral

You are also implying that arts do not attract tourists who spend money. That of course is bullshit. How many tourists go to London to see Chelsea play as compared to visit the museums?

Left Bank of the Charles said...

I met Dale once, 25 to 30 years ago, and now every city has to have a Chihuly. He's quite a character, with the eye patch and everything. His Pilchuck workshops were said to involve a fair amount of compersion. He's definitely a leading figure in the Peter Panarchy.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Buy the way, when I was in the army, diapers were the cloth used to spit shine footgear. No other cloth came close. We usually used newspaper to clean glass. Leaves absolutely no residue.

Unknown said...

Today the purpose of most "modern art" that gets funded from the public trough appears to be aimed at mocking Christians and "conservatism" or else be just weird.

Yet we still revere the great religious pieces of yore: the Sistine Chapel, the Last Supper, the statue of David, etc. 200 years from now, we'll still revere those pieces. And all of today's "modern art" will be cast aside like dross.

It's funny how as far as I'm aware, Norman Rockwell, Thomas Kinkaide, Picasso and maybe Jackson Pollock are pretty much the only painters from the 20th Century that I can name. And of course Bob Ross. Of those names, I think the professional art world only begrudgingly gives Picasso any credit. What happened to the art world? I can tell you: it got overrun by leftists, who suck the creativity and spirit out of everything.

--Vance

Freder Frederson said...

Is a clean, well-lighted wall not art? Is graffiti or a mural created by the residents not art?

No and yes.

Ann Althouse said...

I know. I didn't have comments then. It took some effort to do a post with 9 photos, and then to get no response...

But I wasn't accepting responses at the time. I know I had something like 5,000 readers a day, so it's not like I thought there was no audience. It's just funny now to see the post with one old, serious commenter (Sippican) having deleted his contribution and somebody else just asking me if I'm related to "Nancy Althouse."

I have one of these names that are unusual enough that people think we're all in touch with each other, but common enough that many people seem to know somebody with that name. Can't tell you how many times I've heard the "Are you related to..." question. The answer is always no. And I've never in real life run into someone who has my last name. The only other person in the world I know who has the last name Althouse is my brother George.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

You can make that argument, but independent evaluations of the impact of sports teams on local economies, indicate that it is at best, neutral

Hey, I think the premise is probably incorrect too, but nonetheless, it can be made.

You are also implying that arts do not attract tourists who spend money. That of course is bullshit. How many tourists go to London to see Chelsea play as compared to visit the museums?

Museums and crappy public art are not the same thing. Nice try at conflating them though.

Todd said...

Freder Frederson said...
MOST artists don't make it as artists. Even fewer would if the government welfare for artists would stop.

The amount of government welfare we spend on artists is a pittance compared to the welfare doled out to the mainly billionaire (or at least 100s of millionaire) owners of professional sports franchises. (The state of Louisiana is shoveling $392 million dollars to billionaire Tom Bensonto keep the Saints and Pelicans in New Orleans. And the New Orleans Saints get a $5 million payment from the state every time the Super Bowl is in New Orleans (not when the Saints are in the Super Bowl).

If you want to get bent out of shape about wasting public dollars on entertainment, that is where to start, not a minuscule tax to fund public art.
5/17/17, 10:20 AM


If this thread were about the cost to tax payers for sports stadiums, I would kvetch about that but it isn't so I am not.

Also The amount of government welfare we spend on artists is a pittance compared to, so since the government wastes more money on B, we should do nothing about the money wasted on A? Can't stop any rapes or robberies until we end all murders?

One "could" at least argue that the stadium is an investment as it results in a lot of direct and indirect jobs. I don't think it is worth it and that owners should pay for their own damn stadiums but at least the argument exists. Were is the economic recovery plan for art welfare? Hint, there an't one.

Freder Frederson said...

It's funny how as far as I'm aware, Norman Rockwell, Thomas Kinkaide, Picasso and maybe Jackson Pollock are pretty much the only painters from the 20th Century that I can name.

If those are the only 20th century painters you can name then you probably shouldn't be commenting on a thread about art.

Today the purpose of most "modern art" that gets funded from the public trough appears to be aimed at mocking Christians and "conservatism" or else be just weird.

The first part of this statement is bullshit, and the second part ("just weird") is the opinion of a philistine who admits he can't name more than four painters of the twentieth century (one of which, Kincaide, produced some of the most awful paintings known to mankind).

Unknown said...

Still, all of these art pieces pale in comparison to what God hath wrought. I'm from Utah, and God certainly wrought many masterpieces here. Ann should know from her recent trip through the southwest and Zions, Bryce, Arches, and Capitol Reef (I forget if you made it to Canyonlands).

And that's not even mentioning the spectacular Wasatch mountains up north. Other states have impressive vistas as well.

I'd put Bryce Canyon up against modern art anyday.

--Vance

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Here's the thing, I can visit the Louvre and admire the artwork, and still think that glass pyramid thing is a horrible, horrible mistake.

Freder Frederson said...

Can't stop any rapes or robberies until we end all murders?

A more accurate comparison would be "can't we stop the jaywalking and spitting on the sidewalk until we end all murders".

Ron Winkleheimer said...

the opinion of a philistine

LMAO

Unknown said...

Oh, and Fredor? Go take your snooty elitist air and stick it where the sun doesn't shine. I can name more than those four artists, but as far as cultural relevance goes, there are not many artists who have broad recognition.

If you think I am wrong about leftist mocking stuff, then please explain "Piss Christ" which got plenty of rave reviews from your arty crowd and also was funded specifically to mock Christians by our federal government. They don't have a "Piss Mohammed" do they? I'm sure you are extremely proud of that "Work of art."

And you can mock Kincaide all you want, but his paintings are nice and pleasant to look at; not your abstract "tin can on a board is my masterpiece!" kind of art you no doubt praise effusively.

--Vance

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Remember kids, you have to have an encyclopedic knowledge of modern art before you're qualified to have an opinion on how your tax dollars are spent.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Oh, and you have to have the approved opinions on art too.

Freder Frederson said...

Were is the economic recovery plan for art welfare? Hint, there an't one.

Since the Tate Modern seems to be a whipping boy on this thread, maybe you'll find this interesting. I'm fairly certain that not one of the million visitors spent a penny either inside or outside the museum.

Freder Frederson said...

Remember kids, you have to have an encyclopedic knowledge of modern art before you're qualified to have an opinion on how your tax dollars are spent.

Where did I say that. Knowing a few more than four artists is hardly "encylcopedic".

I can name more than those four artists

Then why did you say you can't? Do you like to pretend you are ignorant?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Since the Tate Modern seems to be a whipping boy on this thread, maybe you'll find this interesting. I'm fairly certain that not one of the million visitors spent a penny either inside or outside the museum.

Still trying to conflate crappy public art with Museums?

Todd said...

Freder Frederson said... [hush]​[hide comment]
Were is the economic recovery plan for art welfare? Hint, there an't one.

Since the Tate Modern seems to be a whipping boy on this thread, maybe you'll find this interesting. I'm fairly certain that not one of the million visitors spent a penny either inside or outside the museum.

5/17/17, 10:57 AM


Wait, are you claiming that the entire contents of the Tate Modern is all government funded art? None of it was funded any other way nor donated? If so, you may have a point, if not then "a swing and a miss".

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Knowing a few more than four artists is hardly "encylcopedic".

So, how much knowledge do you need to have? Is there a test? What if you do have an encyclopedic knowledge of modern art? Would that preclude you from concluding that spending public moneys on art that a significant number of tax payers do not appreciate is a bad idea? If it is a good idea to spend public money on art that a lot of tax payers don't like, why is it a bad idea to spend money on sports franchises that a lot of taxpayers love?

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Is it possible that if you were a rabid sports fan you would then support spending public money on sports franchises, since as a fan of art you support spending said money on art?

Unknown said...

I think, Freder, you should pull up a few Hieronymus Bosch paintings and locate yourself or your avatar in them. Try, say, the right hand triptyche of "The Garden of Earthly Delights."


Just as the last great composer of classical music to be widely known was Igor Stravinski, art pretty much died prior to World War II. You've got Picasso, you have Norman Rockwell for a time (ah, but you deride him as worthless too, I'm sure). Before then: Van Gogh, Munchhausen, several others. But nothing has penetrated the public mind as "good art" since then, has it? Bob Ross, but he's a philistine too. People think of Pollock as just throwing paint mindlessly; and my toddler does that just as well.

Leftists got control of the art world in the 30's and it promptly died; or at least it no longer is capable of putting out art that the people enjoy.

--Vance

Freder Frederson said...

Still trying to conflate crappy public art with Museums?

Most of the large museums in London are heavily subsidized by tax dollars (and most are free admission), so the conflation is valid.

DanTheMan said...

>For someone with a BFA, you sure are hostile to artists.

Perhaps Ann is a Hottentot?

Original Mike said...

I see "Mendota Wall" a lot (season hockey tickets). I kind of like it. Somehow it looks better in person than in the photos.

And it was private money, wasn't it?

madAsHell said...

Just curious, are you related to Nancy Althouse?

If I was really good at writing dialogue, then I might spin this into comedy gold. It's right up there with "Kenneth, what's the frequency?".

Sigivald said...

Also disgusting: Lawmakers who just have to pass laws about everything they supposedly care about.

"There oughta be a law" means there shouldn't be.

Also, welcome to Libertarian 101.

Freder Frederson said...

Van Gogh

Funny you should mention him, since he was never considered a great artist during his life.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Most of the large museums in London are heavily subsidized by tax dollars (and most are free admission), so the conflation is valid.

I've never been to London, but I have been to Paris, Munich, Roen, Tokyo, Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Reykjavik, Azores, Seoul, etc and visited multiple museums in all of them and in very, very few of them were a lot of art that I would call "crappy." I'm guessing London's museums are about the same as far as ratio of "crappy" to good, or perhaps we should use the term "enjoyable."

GrapeApe said...

Freder, you are losing this this debate. Better to stop than to keep digging the hole. Public art has typically been about bread and circuses (colosseum- Rome) or celebrations of military victories. Those memorials are all over the world and are much visited. Sometimes they get torn down- see what happened with the Taliban twenty years ago, or what was going on in Syria five years ago, or what is going on in this country the last year or so. That is public art. And it required a significant amount of artistry and skill to construct.

These installations being referred to in a more contemporary time frame are nothing more than vanity projects. By the "artists" and the city government. No lasting value visually and commemorating nothing at all. Not a snapshot of a piece of history, not a thing having to do with a dang thing. Other than the ability of various levels of governments to confiscate money to subsidize stupidity. Nothing new.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Funny you should mention him, since he was never considered a great artist during his life.

Which might, if you were the reflective sort, make you think about the value of critics.

Sigivald said...

(Also, ref. above.

I took art history classes. I love art. I (sometimes) make it.

And public funding for art is a travesty.

Who pays the piper calls the tune, and other people's money ought to be a heavy responsibility to spend, not something to toss around on anything you think is nice.)

Seeing Red said...

Costs the State?

No.

Costs the taxpayer.

Costs YOU!

That's how this should be approached.

How many meals could that provide?

Let them fund by bake sales.

Freder can spearhead the project and start the fundraising, since this is so critical, by opening his checkbook.

mockturtle said...

It looks dangerous. I hope they have adequate liability coverage.

My older daughter lives in Tacoma. She and her husband are big fans of Chihuly's work and I admit that I find much of it beautiful. This work, not so much..

Big Mike said...

Van Gogh

Funny you should mention him, since he was never considered a great artist during his life.


Ditto Vermeer, but an awful lot of museums wouldn't mind having a Vermeer in their collection. Is there a point to your ignorant comment, Freder?

Original Mike said...

"It looks dangerous. I hope they have adequate liability coverage."

I make a point of not walking underneath it.

Richard Dolan said...

Nice. Public art was once worthy of the name. But what the Medicis and Barberinis were able to pull off so brilliantly is completely beyond the competence of the Lake Wobegon bureaucracy running Madison. And it's not just Madison, as a stroll around DC demonstrates beyond doubt.

Rusty said...


"And public funding for art is a travesty."

For a reason. Mediocre minds make mediocre art. If I'm going to pay for art I want the best I can afford.Not something the wives of some political con artist tell me is art.

The people that I've met who are artists cannot not do their craft. Like writers it is something they do every day and think about all the time. it is an intense existence.

Rusty said...

An here again we touch on Persigs' idea of excellence or quality.

Char Char Binks said...

Are those Prince Rupert's drops on the Mendota Wall? I think I'll take my Bersa Thunder there and find out.

Anthony said...

I met Chihuly once at a book signing. Not enamored of his stuff. Just lots of squiggly colored blobs if you ask me.

Char Char Binks said...

I Have Misplaced My Pants, do you sell tacos, or do you just like them a lot?

SukieTawdry said...

I usually like Chihuly’s work, but that is truly awful.

Even Gov. Moonbeam gets exasperated with California legislators from time to time. He's told them that not every good idea they have needs to become a law.

NYC has a system of "incentive zoning." Developers get additional floor area in exchange for creating and maintaining privately owned public spaces. The art in these spaces is often quite good. Most of my various avatars are pieces of privately owned public art.

Larry J said...

A 6 Year Old Explains Public Art

SukieTawdry said...

One "piece" was a board with nails driven into it in the outline of a fish. A string was wound around the nails.

Hey, that beats the piece seen in Paris' modern art museum. It's just a big board painted black with a nail driven in the center.

Rick Turley said...

I'm guessing they could take it down, break it apart, and sell the pieces for much more than they paid for the whole installation. His work can be very spendy. Maybe they have an agreement with the artist that it must stay together.

What I find amazing - besides the whole craft versus art argument - is that he has not done the work himself for many years, just "supervises" the production. I believe this started after he lost his eye in an accident.

Anthony said...

"they didn't give the grants to create art, they gave them to create and maintain a network of arts administration"

Nail, head.

Big Mike said...

The amount of government welfare we spend on artists is a pittance compared to ...

This sort of argument, whether for public art or high speed rail or any other thing we can live without is precisely how we get state and municipal budgets that are not sustainable. "X is a pittance compared to Y." Who cares? X is something we can do without.

JAORE said...

"A government-supported artist is an incompetent whore!"
- R. Heinlein

SukieTawdry said...

PS. How about the "Fourth Plinth" mockeries that now are presented as art in Trafalgar Square? Decline and fall, indeed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_plinth,_Trafalgar_Square

The art in the Fourth Plinth when I was there was, for the most part, interesting, but seemed terribly out of place. But it wasn't as bad as the stuff now on display apparently. Are the gay pride pedestrian crossing signals still there?

Czech sculptor David Cerny has pieces all around the city of Prague (Hanging Out was right around the corner from my apartment). It's by turns fascinating and grotesque. David Cerny

Balfegor said...

I actually don't hate that kind of blown glass artwork. I wouldn't pay $750,000 for it, sure, but I wouldn't pay $750,000 for any piece of art since I don't have that kind of money. It's not aggressively offputting the way a lot of modern art is, though, so I might spend, oh, $50,000 of someone else's money for something like that.

Balfegor said...

Re: Biff:

PS. How about the "Fourth Plinth" mockeries that now are presented as art in Trafalgar Square? Decline and fall, indeed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fourth_plinth,_Trafalgar_Square

I read somewhere that an artist was making much about how his (her?) Fourth Plinth bit of sculpture was giving public representation to disabled people at long last, conveniently ignoring that Nelson was missing an arm and was blind in one eye. I suppose the key thing is that he wasn't "disabled" in any meaningful sense since he was also the greatest naval commander of his era. Which is not quite in keeping with modern sensibilities about disability.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The problem with "public" art is that the Public doesn't get a vote on how to spend its money or what the Public would like to see.

I imagine if you had put this glass monstrosity to a vote, detailed how much the cost of the "art" was going to be, AND the ongoing cost of maintenance that the Public would say no to a 750K plus expenditure.

Instead these "public" projects are picked by a select few who have decided for the rest of the Public.

JohnAnnArbor said...

How long until one is broken during maintenance?

DanTheMan said...

>> How long until one is broken during maintenance?

And how could we tell?

JaimeRoberto said...

My town has a similar requirement. It's probably what led us to purchase a mosaic for the front of our library which misspelled "van Gogh" and "Einstein". When the city wanted to artist to fix her mistakes she berated the rubes who couldn't accept her art as is.

ProudJew said...

When I looked at the caption under the photo of the glass art "It's a very important piece" all I could think of was Bronson Pinchot and Eddie Murphy scene in" Beverly Hills Cop"
https://youtu.be/GHZWWFmaFcI

Bad Lieutenant said...

JohnAnnArbor said...
How long until one is broken during maintenance?
5/17/17, 2:05 PM


Gimme the address and I'll let you know what the train schedules say.

Unknown said...

It was an installation by the piratical Dale Chihuly (see trademark eyepatch) and his wormy glass sculptures. He's raided public and charitable private art funding for decades. Pretty much all looks the same, like a half melted chandelier.

urbane legend said...

SukieTawdry said...
Czech sculptor David Cerny has pieces all around the city of Prague (Hanging Out was right around the corner from my apartment)

Someone tell Cerny that middle finger theme and pissing theme were overused the second time they were done. One more proof that public art is public fraud.