Thursday, April 2, 2009

Public Art, part II

On the Urban Milwaukee blog, Dave Reid discussed a new art object proposed for downtown Milwaukee.
Public art, to me, is something that "makes" a city. Cosmopolitan cities like NYC and Chicago are full of street musicians, performance artists, and permanent icons like the Cloud Gate (below) in Chicago's Millennium Park.

The Milwaukee art in question is a proposal for a series of "flip signs" by a Brooklyn artist, Janet Zweig, that would animate depictions of encounters between Milwaukeeans.
I was embarrassed, as a Milwaukeean, reading Alderman Willie Wade’s comment, “I am just not feeling it. But then I wouldn’t pay 50 cents for the Mona Lisa” (which has been part of the art canon for hundreds of years). Why is public art such a bone of contention in Milwaukee? The Blue Shirt fiasco, the Bronze Fonz controversy…to me, art is something that pulls you out of yourself, into a different mental place, or something that you can get lost in- and find yourself thinking about long after you are done actually looking at the piece. Something that changes your viewpoint, even a little bit, whether it fits your definition of “beautiful” or whether you actually think you like the thing.
Update- the project was approved at the 4/14/09 Common Council meeting. *cool!*


Dave Reid said...

Thanks for the link and yes exactly. Public Art helps make a city a city.

The River Otter said...

That is a good way to put it, Dave.