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RSS icon Comments on A Monument to All That Is Broken

1

It's ugly. I always hated that thing when I was a student.

Posted by sepiolida | October 22, 2008 1:50 PM
2

1. obelisks are not a sign of anything racial. some writers, it seems, just make stuff up. when it's about art or global capitalism then somehow it's okay as if you're trying to see who's going to call you on it.

2."Broken Obelisk represents more than one broken system: public art is another."

Um, not because it lacks a sense of evil (that'd be a bunch of pseudointellectual crap that thought there) but because most of it is fucking shitty ugly crap. That's why it's public: no one else would buy it.
A broken up fighter jet hanging from a ceailing, yeah lots of us would go spend $300,000 for that masterpiece. OR automobiles racing hanging from a ceiling, way to go SAM $4 million for that one. Or slbas of concrete in Myrtle Edwards Annexed, Adjacent what-ever. Even that Circle of Death thing they liked to skateboard on is totally crappy public art.

Some bureaucrat buys some art with money that's not hers/his and this is supposed to produce wonders like the patronage of L. de Medici?

And btw WTF with this sense of evil re1uirement. "The Night Cafe" has a sense of evil? "Water Lillies"? The Elgin Marbles? WTF??

Posted by PC | October 22, 2008 1:57 PM
3

I live in Houston, and our Obelisk is outside the Rothko Chapel. The Chapel definitely outshines the Obelisk-it's in a reflecting pool right outside the door of the Chapel. Interesting noting the possible darkness of it though-the Chapel itself is often thought of as "dark" because Rothko's paintings inside are all shades of deep purple and black. but if you actually go in and stay awhile, it's one of the most hopeful, bright places I've ever been in. Definitely go if you visit Houston.

Posted by amanda | October 22, 2008 2:06 PM
4

I think this illustrates a big problem with the use of conceptual art as public art. If I have to read an artist's statement to know what the piece is about, then the concept is not really present in the piece. I guess you could argue that the artist's statement then becomes the art, but the fact remains that no impartial observer could possibly derive the intended message from viewing that sculpture.

I suspect the real reason that such conceptual pieces are so popular as public art is because they are perceived as being devoid of overt meaning, and are thus inoccuous. A sculpture that depicted the assassination of Dr. King, for example, would offend a lot of people and potentially cost the public official who decided to fund it their job.

This kind of art is a nice way to pretend to present relevant content without offending anybody.

Posted by flamingbanjo | October 22, 2008 2:12 PM
5

@1: you are wrong. it is the best piece of public sculpture in seattle - with the possible exceptions of the calder at the sculpture park & the moore across the street from the central library.

hate on red square, not the best thing in it.

Posted by max solomon | October 22, 2008 2:22 PM
6

the menils were great supporters of liberal causes in houston. they mentored mickey leland, the african-american congressman who died in a plane crash some years ago. had he lived, HE would have been running for president, and perhaps would have been obama's mentor.

Posted by scary tyler moore | October 22, 2008 2:22 PM
7

@2 -- agree with you on point #1...since when has an obelisk represented race relations???

@3 -- man are you right...that Rothko Chapel is wonderful, and it's only steps away from the de Menil Museum.

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | October 22, 2008 2:49 PM
8

@2
"because most of it is fucking shitty ugly crap."
-- Ugly = irrelevant.

"That's why it's public: no one else would buy it."
-- Factually wrong.

"A broken up fighter jet hanging from a ceailing, yeah lots of us would go spend $300,000 for that masterpiece."
-- Irrelevant.

"automobiles racing hanging from a ceiling, way to go SAM $4 million for that one."
-- This is a valid artistic criticism how? And SAM is considered public art how?

"Some bureaucrat buys some art with money that's not hers/his and this is supposed to produce wonders like the patronage of L. de Medici?"
-- Specious.

"And btw WTF with this sense of evil re1uirement. 'The Night Cafe' has a sense of evil? 'Water Lillies'? The Elgin Marbles? WTF??"
-- Misguided, misinformed and willfully stupid. No one is saying all art must have a sense of evil to be interesting. The quote is referring to public art, not to impressionist painting.

Posted by Superfurry Animal | October 22, 2008 2:56 PM
9

When did skill and aesthetics stop being important characteristics of public art?

Posted by Greg | October 22, 2008 3:03 PM
10

I always liked that Brian Eno quote.

I also agree there is far too much facile art out there today. It is a massive trend.
Maybe too many people grew up drawing pictures that their mothers put on the fridge door all the while saying "honey that is great". All those scribbles and attempts to please and get positive encouragement never got any real criticism as the kid got older and we have ended up with adults basically doing fridge art expecting everyone to love it but being incapable of understanding why it is hated. Which we have every right to do if justified.
It is too idilic to think everything can be acceptable as art and too narrow minded not to try to accept everything and redefine boundaries all the time. A paradox.

Posted by -B- | October 22, 2008 3:04 PM
11

I just today noticed that it was back on campus after being cleaned! Thanks for posting.

Posted by Deacon | October 22, 2008 3:17 PM
12

@9
Someone with a broader knowledge of art than I might be able to give you a better date, but 1917 seems as good as any: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fountain_(Duchamp)

Though I'd argue that skill is still relevant in more conceptual and contemporary art.

Posted by Superfurry Animal | October 22, 2008 3:25 PM
13

That place used to be super fun to skate. Got to love the ugly ass skatestoppers there.

Posted by bobcat | October 22, 2008 3:26 PM
14

Oh, and @9, I'm referring to art more broadly than just public art in post 12. IMO, public art should at least attempt to reflect trends in the art world at large, though I suppose you could argue that it should be divorced from that and blandified/mainstreamed.

It didn't strike me that PC was arguing that, however.

Posted by Superfurry Animal | October 22, 2008 3:38 PM
15

What is the point of "public" art that imposed on The Public by a bunch of rich guys.

If it were up to the public, they'd have a water slide or something useful there.

Posted by John Bailo | October 22, 2008 4:08 PM
16

"If it were up to the public, they'd have a water slide or something useful there."

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Something "useful" like a WATER SLIDE? Really?

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Whew...


Wow.

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17

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18

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19

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20

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