Sunday, May 03, 2009

"Art" Like A Slap In The Face

Updated: 9 April 2010 to replace dead link to Nuvo article. The 'Net is forever; our arty paper, less than a year.

The delightful Paul Cret-designed Central Library in downtown Indianapolis, despite having had the stacks gutted right out of it and now serving as an entry hall to the swooping modernist aberration where the books (and other, newer, more common media) are now found, nevertheless retains a great deal of its neoclassical charm. Of course the intellects who dreamed up the glittering money sink that now hovers ominously behind it, sinking slowly into hollowly echoing void of its underground garages, could not allow such simple beauty to stand unchallenged.

Two large pedestals on either side of the grand entrance had stood empty since the building was completed in 1917; they were supposed to have held sculpture in keeping with the nature of the building but funding ran out and with Hoosier practicality, they have remained unoccupied, perhaps challenging visitors to dream what might occupy that space.

No more. Thanks to a review in Nuvo, I've discovered there's a nightmare there now. (Have a look by clicking here or on the images in the article). Of course the reviewer is all aflutter. Comments are presently running about 50/50 -- and that's in a very alt/artsy paper. Sheesh.

18 comments:

KurtP said...

You mean that oil derrick triangular thing on one side and the round shield looking thing on the other?

I know it was taxpayer money, I just hope it was yours and not NEA money from everyone :-S

Nathan Brindle said...

Look, I don't know art, but that sure as hell ain't art.

And even if it is, it doesn't belong there.

The artist might as well have heaved a couple of truckloads of manure at the building for all he's accomplished.

Borepatch said...

The Art world perfectly encapsulates the left's worldview: small, closed, lacking measurable standards. What's important is to know The Right People, which is done by supporting the small, closed group's code.

No wonder the entire art community hates the business world. Except for the grant dollars, of course. Olet non pecunia, and all that ...

og said...

I have a piece of performance art for them; I call it "1997 Aerostar, wiht rust, and three hubcaps". It's performance because I'll drive it down there, and get back the last few actual books, and take them to a safe place for storage and browsing.

Good lord almighty. I've seen prettier gobs of lung butter on the sidewalk.

Jeffro said...

Hmmm. A hair clog and a huge donut.

Some years ago the debate over art raged in Dodge City over the display of El Capitan's remaining "wedding tackle." He is a steer, after all.

Joseph said...

Art? I think ten year olds could design better art than some of these folks. This reminds me of 3 pipe cleaners. For something like this, the gov't should have told the artists: Show us what you have, we will let the people vote on it, the winner gets to put up his/her piece of art. But were not going to do anything more than pay for transporting it from your studio to our city.
You would likely get a lot of amateurs who would try they're hand, and likely get something decent. Sorry, but if I can't tell what it is supposed to be, it isn't anything but a heap of scrap.

Joanna said...

I, uh ... I don't get it. Why couldn't they just put up some of the Otterness sculptures from a couple years ago? Everybody loved those.

Tam said...

Somebody left some construction debris out front. When's the sculpture going in?

Nathan Brindle said...

Tam wins again. :)

Assrot said...

You'd think they could find a couple of decent Gargoyles instead of that hunk of scrap iron heh?

I have quite a collection of Gargoyles. I like them almost as much as guns. I'm sure I could sell them a couple of nice ones for about 20% of what that pile of junk cost them.

Looks like your library folk are going all hopey-changey on you.

Joe

mts1 said...

This gives Indy the bragging rights of being somewhat cultured now. Cultured meaning throwing away good money to someone's bad acid trip, then acting like it's the cat's meow that they did so, and that such a deranged (oops, creative) artist deigned to decorate their humble city.

Chicagoans adopted the Picasso because they got the world renowned Spaniard to throw something into their dank, bare plaza, and NYC didn't. That's all. They don't know what it is if you asked them, that's why it's still just "da Picasso" (it's a woman), but they got it and LA and NYC didn't, and you don't mess with Chicago's art insecurity issues. Not only do they have that hunk of corten steel, they have a stone Miro and an aluminum bean, so thumb in your eye, other cities! Sheesh.

farmist said...

I get it! Even tho' the radio broadcast tower on the left has melted and the satellite dish on the right has sagged, there are still books in between! Triumph of old-tech.

Tam said...

mts1,

My first thought on seeing the Library Abortion or ManBirdThing or whatever they're calling it was "At least that Picasso in Chicago looks cool..." Srsly.

Wayne Conrad said...

The emperor's new art...

"What's this, the scaffolding?"

"Sir, it's the art."

"The art? It's awful."

"Oh, what a sense of humor you have."

"Uh. Yeah."

"You see how this piece leaps past post-modernism entirely, of course, to redefine the meaning of aesthetic conceptualism in relation to man and society."

"Um... yes, of course. Is that why it looks like scrapyard junk?"

"Scrapyard junk? Surely it doesn't look like that to a refined eye like yours!

"Well, of course you're right. I see what you mean..."

"I'm so glad you approve of it. Since the committee has already signed the check. Thank you for your support of the arts, sir."

"Of course. I know good art when I see it."

staghounds said...

Two things-

You know about the fourth plinth, right?

And, the whole public art world explained in a four page comic.

Mikee said...

Follow the money. That such an excercise in casting bronze could cost $750,000 amazes me.

Andrew said...

Um, the linked article says...

"Privately funded by local arts advocates Ann and Chris Stack and the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Foundation, Shelton’s work consists of two separate sculptures..."

So, ugly, yes, wasteful, not so much.

Roberta X said...

Yeah, heaven forbid they support the arts by, gee, I dunno, buying the library a big stack of art books....