24.3 C
Byron Shire
March 5, 2021

Is public art meant to create controversy?

Latest News

My dear friend, Philip Rubinstein 1934–2021

I first met Phil on a rain-soaked day outside my house in Brunswick Terrace, Mullum. It was an accidental encounter, but we soon got stuck into a conversation about the parlous state of Australian universities.

Other News

Bangalow blackspot puts school children at risk

Will action ever be taken to protect school kids getting on and off the bus on Lismore Road, Bangalow as trucks fly by at 80km/h?

Praying for Vanuatu in Ballina

The World Day of Prayer is a gigantic ecumenical event staged on the first Friday of March.

Forum to address housing emergency, March 8

A grassroots movement is bringing women, community and art together on International Women’s Day (March 8) in an urgent push to solve the local housing emergency. 

Hospital staff want to park for free while they work

It seems that Lismore Base isn’t the only hospital whose workers would like to park their cars for free while they work.

Senior players triumph at Cherry Street Croquet Club

The experience combination of Joan Campbell (92 years young) and Elaine Astley (89) were able to beat the field and collect a win in the Cherry Streety Twilight Golf Croquet Plate Competition held at Ballina.

Action on Cumbalum Interchange at Ballina?

Following multiple community requests, Cr Phillip Meehan brought a motion to the last Ballina Council meeting calling for additional ramps to be built at the Cumbalum-Pacific Motorway interchange.

Christine Willmot, Byron Bay

People writing to support the roundabout sculpture justify it by repeating the mantra that public art is ‘meant’ to create controversy as if that were set in stone, and the only criterion for its acceptability; that the degree of artistic merit or how well it satisfies the EOI guidelines are not important, and that people who express criticism should ‘take a cold shower’.

The implication is that the more confronting the work, then the more avant-garde it might be, and those who disagree with it will just have to learn to love it!

This seems a little condescending, not to say contradictory. If the value of the piece lies in the discussion it has provoked, then why try to stop people discussing it? Why not engage with the criticism, and argue more convincingly that even though we didn’t get what we thought we were getting – and this was not entirely the artist’s fault – we have instead a Dada-esque piece that will be an asset to the town! And it’s a copout to compare it with other famous public artworks that were also initially disliked. Surely each case is different and should be examined in context. The Eiffel Tower for example began as a gateway to the 1889 World Exhibition and from the beginning was meant to celebrate technology and modern progress and was popular with the general public, if not the artists and intellectuals. It is also an elegant blend of art and engineering, and this cannot be said of our shiny metal thing.

So, Eiffel Tower it is not; and considering the work done on Council’s Public Art Policy and Strategies I think it’s fair to ask why go to the trouble to draft policy, write guidelines, invite people to give time to sit on the panel, and ask artists for submissions to end up with something that has not done justice to that effort? So let the discussion bubble on I say.

And anyone interested in supporting Jan Hackett’s motion to consider the future of the project could apply to speak at Public Access at the coming Council meeting on 28 February.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Ben Hamilton riding for kids with cancer

Ballina man Ben Hamilton is riding his bike 500km to help young kids with cancer.

Brunswick Heads marina berths to increase

Questions remain unanswered around a press release from Nationals MLC Ben Franklin’s office regarding a $2.8 million upgrade to the Brunswick Heads boat harbour. According...

Helping Our Kids, help our kids

The Lismore Samson Fitness Challenge kicks off tonight in Lismore with the express aim of raising much-needed funds for the Our Kids charity.

Nimbin medicinal cannabis event, March 27

Two experienced medical cannabis doctors and a retired magistrate who is passionate about changing the drug driving rules will take part in the MEDICAN gathering in Nimbin.