Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Public Art

Incidentally, I just recently noticed the sculptural nightmares that now lurk under the overpass (under the overpass) in Emeryville. They are a group of two-dimensional metal figures representing a diverse assortment of Emeryvillians, young and old. Leering, wretched, skeletal, they cast shadows against the concrete walls like the stuff of your most terrible dreams. And naturally they are placed on either side of a stop light, allowing you to pass terrible minutes alone with these damned wraiths.

I think the problem stems from the belief that any art is better than no art. This is simply not so. I'd rather watch an action painting of graffiti and splattered blood zip past my car window than some community college student's final project.

(I might add that contemporary urban murals are a particular blight on the landscape: crayola-bright colors applied with a hand that attempts to convey bland messages of social enlightenment and political earnestness with the technical skill of a fat-fisted toddler and the conceptual subtlety of a Jefferson Airplane song.)