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Liberals find their voice on public art

By johnboy 28 April 2012 20

The Liberals’ Vicki Dunne is starting to ask some useful questions about the public art program:

Since 2007, the ACT Labor Government has spent on average around $4,300 each day on street sculptures, ACT Shadow Arts Minister Vicki Dunne said today.

“The 37 works I have been able to identify which have been installed across the ACT since 2007 have cost well over $8 million,” Mrs Dunne said.

“Only eight of these works were by local artists.

“The Canberra Liberals are not opposed to public arts funding. What concerns us is that under the ACT Labor Government, opportunities to promote other art forms are being lost.

“Historically, ACT Labor’s strategy has been little more than to pander to the personal street art obsession of the former Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, while other artists barely get a look in. And the current Chief Minister, Katy Gallagher, and the Arts Minister, Joy Burch, have only perpetuated that directionless approach.

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Liberals find their voice on public art
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Zan 2:52 pm 29 Apr 12

Art is a bit like food and restaurants. Not everyone likes the same thing. Some people think some art is good, but a lot of other people think it is horrible. However it would be awful if there was no art at all. Art is in everything from nature to the man made. People who go to art galleries are generally healthier than those who never enter a gallery. The art makes them feel better. That is why in children’s hospitals there are lots of paintings and craft around the place.

The problem with not using many local artists is that the people who choose the items want to be noticed on the world stage. Take for example the bronze arches at the end of Anzac Parade. You can also see the same arches in USA somewhere – but I can remember.

As the wife of an artist who was told by the so called local authorites in the art system in the local government, we don’t want your work as you don’t have international credability.

So expect more overpriced so called world or interstate art.

fabforty 11:50 am 29 Apr 12

mr_spoon said :

I dunno about the Libs: their track record is not crash hot either.

I’d rather have a giant concrete owl and some pretty metal wibbly-wobbly things in Civic than children killed by turning hospital implosions into public spectacles, futsal fields that no one uses, or painting the grass in Bruce Stadium green after it died in its first frost.

Supporting local artists is a good call.

Except this isn’t. Did you read the article ? Only 8 of the 37 works were by local artists.

Ben_Dover 10:34 am 29 Apr 12

How about spending whatever public money that is going to be spent on “art”, on “art” that doesn’t blatantly suck?

How about spending it on things that won’t serve as visible, public symbols of their inability to spend public funds wisely or efficiently; that won’t serve as symbols of their contempt for the taxpayers? (Some of this crap they could replace with a huge statue of themselves p!ssing on a group of ordinary citizens and it would basically give the same impression)

If they lack the skill set (which apparently they do) to avoid spending large sums of taxpayer money on stuff that makes them look like incompetent boobs, here’s a suggestion:

If a sum of money is allocated for commissioning a piece of public art, first require the artists applying for the commission to submit both a description and a visual representation of what the thing is going to look like.

(A color drawing, a model…they very well may already do this…it’s the next step that’s critical.)

Once this is done, then select a group of ordinary citizens from the community at random, somewhere between 10 and 20 should be plenty….

Then have this group look at the picture or model….

If the reaction you get is a combination of howls of hysterical laughter, gasps of horror, and people scratching their heads and saying “What the f*ck? ” toss it in the trash and move on….

Seems pretty simple to me…..

mr_spoon 8:40 am 29 Apr 12

I dunno about the Libs: their track record is not crash hot either.

I’d rather have a giant concrete owl and some pretty metal wibbly-wobbly things in Civic than children killed by turning hospital implosions into public spectacles, futsal fields that no one uses, or painting the grass in Bruce Stadium green after it died in its first frost.

Supporting local artists is a good call.

Ben_Dover 7:51 am 29 Apr 12

I posted this thread into a forum I use which is less Canberra specific. (Apologies JB.)

An American chum of mine came up with this succinct reply.

Here’s a thought….

How about spending whatever public money that is going to be spent on “art”, on “art” that doesn’t blatantly suck?

How about spending it on things that won’t serve as visible, public symbols of their inability to spend public funds wisely or efficiently; that won’t serve as symbols of their contempt for the taxpayers? (Some of this crap they could replace with a huge statue of themselves p!sing on a group of ordinary citizens and it would basically give the same impression)

If they lack the skill set (which apparently they do) to avoid spending large sums of taxpayer money on stuff that makes them look like incompetent boobs, here’s a suggestion:

If a sum of money is allocated for commissioning a piece of public art, first require the artists applying for the commission to submit both a description and a visual representation of what the thing is going to look like. (A color drawing, a model…they very well may already do this…it’s the next step that’s critical.)

Once this is done, then select a group of ordinary citizens from the community at random, somewhere between 10 and 20 should be plenty….

Then have this group look at the picture or model….

If the reaction you get is a combination of howls of hysterical laughter, gasps of horror, and people scratching their heads and saying “What the f*ck? :shrug ” toss it in the trash and move on….

Seems pretty simple to me…..

thatsnotme 9:31 pm 28 Apr 12

I wish I’d kept the flyer I got the other day – it was a photo of the Belco owl, with some blurb about how the Labor party were wasting money on public art, while neglecting other services. This showed up in my mail box a few days back, in West Belconnen, from the local Liberal candidate.

I couldn’t help but think that it would have been much more effective if they’d actually outlined any policies or plans about how they’d have spend the money better. I mean…it’s kinda a free shot, but all I took from it was ‘hey, the Labor party are wasting money, so vote for me so I can spend that money in vague and unspecified ways’.

I’m quite amazed that knowing what the local art cost us all, that the Libs can’t even articulate anything beyond ‘we’ll spend it on roads and hospitals and school and stuff’.

Tetranitrate 9:02 pm 28 Apr 12

Johnboy’s proposal looks better by the day.
http://the-riotact.com/does-canberra-need-the-act-with-poll/

Tetranitrate 8:57 pm 28 Apr 12

I don’t like the liberals, both in terms of policy as well as in terms of the candidates themselves.
However, there comes a point in time when a government has been in power for so long that it becomes so overwhelmingly arrogant, corrupt and incompetent that it needs to be removed, if only to wipe the slate clean and force some form of self examination on the part of the party (in this case the Labor Party).
That’s happened in New South Wales and Queensland, and it really needs to happen here.

ACT Labor really deserves to be kicked in the teeth for the way they’ve governed.
The way they just persist and persist with this art garbage while services suffer and people are pushed out of the city by the (engineered) rental crisis is just disgusting.
It’s just rubbing peoples faces in the dirt.

And seriously – if ACT Labor had spent a tenth as much effort fighting the federal government over issues like hospital funding as they did engaging in pointless spats over anti-terrorism laws and civil unions, we might be in a better position to legitimately engage in beatification of the city.

poetix 8:41 pm 28 Apr 12

c_c said :

dvaey said :

Maybe they should be diverting this money into essential services, and stop asking for handouts for the essential stuff while they squander money on art and fluff.

Absolutely. Andrew Barr is bragging today about getting $2.5m from the Commonwealth to upgrade Manuka Oval (which is good news), but looks absolutely stupid when they’re blowing millions on public art that generates no return on investment and most of the time doesn’t even support local artists.

How is putting something beautiful (or at least thought-provoking, or even annoying) before people ‘blowing’ money? Seriously, how do we measure the value of the MIA Belcoonen owl, perching above peak hour like a sphinx?

Micky_P 8:22 pm 28 Apr 12

Price of everything yadayada value of nothing etc.

I don’t think anyone wants to live in a concrete Canberra jungle void of art – I think this argument is more about what public art we build not if. Public art will never translate to a line item on the balance sheet but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good investment.

c_c 5:51 pm 28 Apr 12

dvaey said :

Maybe they should be diverting this money into essential services, and stop asking for handouts for the essential stuff while they squander money on art and fluff.

Absolutely. Andrew Barr is bragging today about getting $2.5m from the Commonwealth to upgrade Manuka Oval (which is good news), but looks absolutely stupid when they’re blowing millions on public art that generates no return on investment and most of the time doesn’t even support local artists.

PantsMan 5:43 pm 28 Apr 12

pepmeup said :

It doen’t make much difference, Labor and greens will govern the ACT forever, so who cares what they spend the moneu on or who calls them on it. They will still win in Oct 2012

What an “I, for one, welcome our new Labor/Green Overlords” comment. Seriously dude, that is just such a defeatist attitude.

poetix 5:31 pm 28 Apr 12

dvaey said :

Maybe they should be diverting this money into essential services, and stop asking for handouts for the essential stuff while they squander money on art and fluff.

http://www.odditycentral.com/news/artist-recreates-da-vincis-last-supper-out-of-laundry-lint.html

There you go! Art and fluff.
I like the public art programme.

buzz819 5:25 pm 28 Apr 12

pepmeup said :

It doen’t make much difference, Labor and greens will govern the ACT forever, so who cares what they spend the moneu on or who calls them on it. They will still win in Oct 2012

I bloody well hope not….

Dacquiri 5:12 pm 28 Apr 12

The problem with public art is that it is, well, so… damn public. That means that it’s there, in your face, whether you like it or not. You can’t choose to either look at it or not, as you would in an art gallery. It is imposed on you without your consent. The only difference between this and other people’s tobacco smoke — the imposition of which on non-consenting individuals was a big part of the justification for introducing legal protections against such exposure — is that having aesthetically appalling and financially wasteful public art imposed on you probably won’t lead to adverse health consequences. You would think though, given the subjective nature of ‘art’, that the pollies would realise that the installation of public art is likely to annoy a significant chunk of people. So why do they do it? It’s part of the ‘let’s-copy-the-awfulness-of-big-cities-so-that-those-of-of-who-run-Canbera-can-feel-important’ syndrome.

housebound 4:40 pm 28 Apr 12

pepmeup said :

It doen’t make much difference, Labor and greens will govern the ACT forever, so who cares what they spend the moneu on or who calls them on it. They will still win in Oct 2012

Only if you keep voting for them.

If you’re happy with the arrangement, then there’s no problem.

pepmeup 4:02 pm 28 Apr 12

It doen’t make much difference, Labor and greens will govern the ACT forever, so who cares what they spend the moneu on or who calls them on it. They will still win in Oct 2012

Ben_Dover 3:11 pm 28 Apr 12

dvaey said :

Maybe they should be diverting this money into essential services, and stop asking for handouts for the essential stuff while they squander money on art and fluff.

+1

dvaey 1:47 pm 28 Apr 12

Maybe they should be diverting this money into essential services, and stop asking for handouts for the essential stuff while they squander money on art and fluff.

p1 11:29 am 28 Apr 12

Shame it took them this long, but I’m glad someone has finally noticed that money could be going to local artists.

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