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Your city's bizarre idea of public "art"

nerudite

Cyburbian
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6,544
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30
It seems like every City I have lived in/worked in has had some public "art" that is just bizarre or out of context to the surrounding area. I would love to see what everyone else's towns have...

The attached photo is of artwork called "Butthinge" (no lie)... and it doubles as a bench, or a giant uh.... hinge.

My favorite is from Oak Harbor, which was a re-creation of Fred Flintstone's car that some citizen through on the beach that ended up a permanent work of art. Unfortunately, I couldn't find pictures of it for this post :(
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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10,624
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This one was contentious

The photo is a model of the new parking structure at Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport. The County allocates 1% of all public works projects to public art. This is a 34 foot tall translucent blue shirt.

It supposedly has many meanings.
 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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10,624
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Juxtaposition

The orange sunburst in the foreground is named "The Calling". It sits at the east end of Milwaukee's Wisconsin Avenue. Before the new museum addition was built, the sculpture was framed by Lake Michigan in the background, and it gave a sort of modern sunrise appearance.

Now, with the Santiago Calatrava expansion in place, public debate is hot about whether or not to move The Calling, as some beleive it distracts from the building, which itself is a piece of art.

It's an interesting debate for sure. Context of art. Sheesh.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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17,787
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No public art in my little town, sadly, although I have been grant hunting.

My favorite can be found in the Motor City.

 

Chet

Cyburbian Emeritus
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Originally posted by Dan
My favorite can be found in the Motor City.
Yikes. That should be on North Halstead Street in Chicago. LOL
 

Dan

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Re: Has anyone seen the"Great" Mall of the Great Plains?

El Guapo said:
It is so FUGLY they won't put a photo of it on their web site. It game me ADHD just looking at it.
Here ya' go.



Don't take 'em all at once, though.
 

Dan

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bturk said:
That should be on North Halstead Street in Chicago. LOL
This is probably more appropriate for the location. It used to be displayed in the median of the Kensington Expressway in Buffalo.

 

Dan

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Las Cruces, New Mexico, had this one.



Yup, it's city maintained.
 

Cardinal

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Dan - that is definitely North Haltead. What kind of neighborhood was that in Buffalo?
 

El Feo

Cyburbian
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674
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19
Washed out a bit, but that's a big bat leaning against the Louisvile Slugger factory in downtown Louisville. It's really quite clever - since sign regulations prohibited it, it's actually a storm sewer vent.

Not so highbrow - no statement, really, except "big freakin' bat," but hey, I like it.

By the way that's NOT me in the photo. Wouldn't be caught dead in a Cleveland Indians hat...

 

Dan

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Re: OMG

El Guapo said:
Dan are those happy neon willies?
Duirng the early 1980s, Buffalo had an abundance of public art incorporating animated neon. A then-nationally famous artist, Billy Lawless, was commissioned to create one of the city's neon installations.

The work was called "Green Lightning," It was displayed in the median strip of the Kensington Expressway (NY 33), just on the eastern edge of downtown. (That area isn't Buffalo's "alternative" neighborhood.) It was supposed to display abstract neon splats and blotches. When the curtain was first removed to reveal the piece, it recieved the oohs and aahs of municipal and arts community leaders. When it was lit, the crowd fell silent. Yup ... they were dancing neon thingies.

The mayor at the time, Jimmy Griffin, an extremely devout Catholic (he invited Operation Rescue to Buffalo, and established the city as the abortion protest capital of the United States) ordered that the work be removed immmediately, but it stayed up (no pun intended) for a few months. Snow was piled in a way that blocked the work's visibility. Green Lightning was eventually dismantled and moved to Chicago. I don't know if it's still there or not.

As an aside, I met Jimmy Griffin a few times whe I was in high school. Once, two of my fellow high school students and I had an hour's audience with the mayor. He's a nut -- he told us about some of the fights he had with other city officials and hte media -- we're talking throwing of punches here -- and his office was filled with objects that would incite a sexual harassment lawsuit today. One other time I met him, he was stumbling down a side street after a St. Patrick's Day parade. Yup, he celebrated in the true Irish spirit. Jimmy Griffin was Buffalo's Richard Daley, for better or worse.

 

lowlyplanner

Cyburbian
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69
Points
4
Exactly when did public art begin to get bizarre? Our city has some truly amazing pieces of public art - but none from after WWII. Attached is the "Great War Memorial Statue" from the 20s.

Could you put something like this up today? How come?
 

el Guapo

Capitalist
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Gay war memorials

Lowlyplanner - I like it.

For some reason this one here is a gay hangout in KCMO. It is the only national memorial to the veterans of World War One. What draws them there?



http://www.libertymemorialmuseum.org/

Does "gay war memorials" deserve its own thread?
 
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5,353
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A couple of years ago, the Young Leadership Council sponsored a six month public art program called the Festival of Fins. It was modeled after Chicago's Festival of Cows. Various businesses and organizations commissioned artists to decorate the fish. Some of the fish were bizarre, but it was pretty neat to walk/drive around town to view the fish. :)

http://fins.neworleans.com/
 

Repo Man

Cyburbian
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2,550
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25
The wost public art in my mind are these godawful whale paintings that litter the skyline of almost every big city in the US.

That clown Wyland has this ego trip where he wants his art in every major city. The only trouble is that most of these paintings are so out of context that it is a joke. In Milwaukee he was relegated to a parking garage wall along the freeway (after unsucessfully lobbying for a spot on the Public Museum wall). What does whale art have to do with Milwaukee? Or Detroit? Or Atlanta? Whale art has a place in Cities like Miami, but not in Wisconsin or Michigan.

I also think his art is tacky. It looks like something you would paint on the side of some 70's conversion van or something you would find on a t-shirt at a flea market.
 
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I have to agree with jtfortin. The whale mural here in Milwaukee is hilariously out of place. And while your first encounter may produce a pleasant chuckle, seeing it every time you go downtown makes you realize it really is a 'fish out of water.' Sorry...I just couldn't resist.
 

statler

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447
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In the Boston Common we have this wonderful sculpture:



It's not the greatest photograph, but oddly enough I've havn't been able to find a lot of pictures of it...hmmm...
 

Dan

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We know Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love.



Philly is also the city that loves you back.



 

Dan

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Buffalo has some more interesting public art. Really, a lot of it.

Behold, America's greatest president ... Millard Fillmore!



There's the assortment of fiberglas buffaloes ... hundreds of 'em, scattered throughout the city.



This guy watches over Delaware Park, facing towards and standing just a few feet away from the Scjaquada Expressway.

 

statler

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It seems there is some interesting public art going on in Boston nowadays (of course with art being subjective and all... your mileage may vary) The only down side is that it is only temporary :-(

Check it out:

Along The Freedom Trail
 

adaptor

Member
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123
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6
I thought maybe VirtueCity would post these, but since not I'm forced to reveal the excesses of Government Approved art of the '70s
 

adaptor

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And Billie Lawless spent some time in Cleveland, too. This one refers to Politicians, which is how he apparently felt after his experience in Buffalo.
 

thadden

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4
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party animals

DC is doing a version of the cow-fish-whatever thing, called "Party Animals". Donkeys and Elephants, painted and put *everywhere*. There was a baby elephant in front of the Marine Corps Barracks painted like the sky, with a parachuting marine on it's butt. The commandant freaked out, and they took it away.
 

OhioPlanner

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304
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11
Weird Art

In Amarillo, Texas they have more than 5,000 of these art signs around the city. They all have different pictures and messages all over them.
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
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I kinda like the critters on DC streets-they have some intersting messages on folks thoughts of DC. the ones in Dupont are quiet nice.

Course then one must wonder about the burnt out cars down on Half street...Urban art or shoppers delight *toung in cheek here*

D
 
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