Public Art can be a contentious issue for several reasons. Often people find public artworks to be eyesores, as seen in the recent backlash from the completion of Anish Kapoor’s Olympic Park sculpture. At other times public art commissions are unambitious and lead to poor artworks lining roads or sitting in village greens. Much Street Art, in particular graffiti, is destroyed as quickly as it is created, and is bemoaned by many as being aggressive or just ugly.
It is little surprise that Public Art suffers some degree of outspoken criticism. While gallery art takes its own share of lambasting, it is still safely ensconced within the white cube, the traditional art space where the public visit less often. Public Art on the other hand is displayed in the public domain, most often installed as a permanent fixture. Continue reading “Inspirational Monstrosity – Is Public Art for the public?”
Poster and billboard advertising is an acute way of judging the difference between two places. In the undecorated steel and glass of airports there can be few indicators to remind a traveller who has just arrived that they have even left their original location. One of the common and decisive indicators is a change in language or tone in the advertisements that are on display.
I remember landing in London for the first time and getting the tube into the city. At the first station three escalator journeys awaited, and on the tiled wall during the slow ascent there passed identical framed advertisements spaced a little apart from one another the whole way up. This deluge of small posters is not a rare sight in the London Underground, but it seemed unusual to me initially as it did not mirror any other metro or untergrundbahn that I had previously encountered. Continue reading “This Is Your God: Orienteering by advertisements”
In 2010 James Elkins, Art Critic and Historian of the School of the Art Institute, Chicago, wrote a piece entitled How Long Does it Take To Look at a Painting? for The Huffington Post. In this piece the author describes an encounter with an elderly lady who he estimates, over decades of visits to the Art Institute of Chicago, spent at least 3,000 hours looking at Rembrandt’s painting Young Woman at an Open Half-Door (below).
The basic premise of the Daily Mail’s piece was to prove via observation that viewers spend an average of as little as 5 seconds looking at works by important contemporary artists such as Rachel Whiteread or Tracy Emin in the TATE Modern. Their conclusion was that viewers do not like looking at modern art.
Paint forced out by the inflation of tarnished metal beneath in paper-thin scrapings like filmy slices of whittled wood. Chunky number buttons with finger indentations on telephones that crunch in with a satisfying click. Orange and dusk-red rusts on old bicycle frames that harbour a beautiful variety of lichen in an array of sanguine tones. Windowless stone buildings with determined blades of grass growing forcibly through the gaps in the cold cobbled floor.