Most people would agree that art in public spaces has the potential to beautify or otherwise enhance an environment. Public art at its grandest scale can serve as an iconic landmark, as in the case of the Eiffel Tower or the Christ the Redeemer statue
Why then is there a popular perception that public art seldom delivers what it promises? Why does it so often seem that if there’s, say, $50,000 dollars of public money to spend on a sculpture, it ends up in the form of, well….nothing. That is, no recognizable forms part of our normal sensory experiences.
Since about the late-mid 20th century a popular form of public art has emerged that I will call ‘amorphism’ that can be found in cities all over the world. It’s difficult to describe, but much like pron, you know it when you see it.
(maybe this last one bears enough resemblance to an endoplasmic reticulum to qualify as having some recognizable form.)
Mind you, by no means is all public art formless. Here are a couple examples of very recognizable forms.
Given that most people prefer their art to have form why have so many formless works been selected/commissioned? Do various governments have a desire to appear cutting edge/avant garde/futuristic and feel the art helps convey that impression? How are most selection committees formed?
What are your impressions of public art?