Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Things I really hate #2: Crap Public Art

I like art. I like well-designed, public spaces. I’m not sure if I like public art.

Actually, I’m not altogether certain what public art really is. Is it simply art that is located in the public realm? Or is it art that is somehow created by the public, a bit like when someone’s auntie has their poem published in the local paper? You see the former - I like, the latter - I don’t.

I’m not saying that only art designed by arty types with fuzzy hair and ethnic pantaloons is suitable, but there does need to be some assessment of whether it is a worthwhile addition to the public realm, or just art produced by members of the public. You may think that your child’s painting is wonderful, but there’s a difference between displaying it on your fridge, or 50ft high in Town Hall Square. I also dislike the idea of art being 'worthy'.

It’s strange how both grammatically and in practice, the addition of one word to another can change it’s entire meaning. Rock and soft rock. Meat and reclaimed meat. Engineering and value engineering. Music and lift music. Sheets and polyester sheets. Landscape and landscape ping. Coke and diet Coke. Art and public art.

This piece of ‘public art’ from Bristol is an absolute classic, which made me sit up and write this blog entry. It’s as if they’ve laid a blue, dog turd into the very fabric of the paving.

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