Twenty Five Tons of Nothing
When California artist David Middlebrook’s 25 ton sculpture, “Tip”, was installed in Gordon Park several years ago, the reception for the clumsy white thing was underwhelming. When “Stratiformis” was installed in Catalano Park, the reception was underwhelming. Of course, the folks responsible for bringing this stuff to Milwaukee took issue with the barrage of criticism. They defended what wasn’t, and still isn’t, worth defending. Things haven’t improved in the realm of public art; in fact, the situation has worsened with the coming of Fonzie in bronze, though I hestitate to put that work in any “art” category. It is, however, public. Making a long list of our public art mistakes is growing ever tedious, so I’ll skip the list. If it’s a short list you’re wanting, then it’s a better idea to start with good public art in our city. Listing ten would be a stretch. Five would be reasonable.
Most folks don’t care about public art, let alone think about it. It’s something they may notice now and then, but it doesn’t impact their lives, so what’s the big deal? The same people comment over and over again, so much so, that their comments eventually become as tiresome as the public art mess. A few stout hearts have been trying for years to make sense of why we’re stuck with so much crap. But, well, the scrap heap continues to grow.