no more plastic bears
The ongoing fashion for cute, unoriginal and downright kitschy public art fauna continues to make me peevish, as I voiced here on July 9th , July 13th and July 17th of 2004 . And I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Jenn Farrell has written an excellent article for Vancouver’s The Tyee called Pack up the Plastic Spirit Bears – There’s got to be a better way to handle public art and charity. Here’s an excerpt, and please do read the entire article for the many valid points made.
But Richard Tetrault, a Vancouver artist and muralist, believes that the spirit bear project demonstrates a lack of trust in artists’ own work, and instead forces them to produce something “cute and frivolous.” “Take something that’s a template, that’s really hard to work with,” he says, “then give artists all these conditions about not making any political or social statements…then strain all that out and see what they can come up with.”
The lack of a real art legacy in Vancouver bothers him and many other artists. “There are all these issues, substantial things that can be expressed in content in public art, a tremendous untapped dimension that we aren’t even tapping,” laments Tetrault. Another artist, who, because of his contribution to the spirit bear project, asked not to be named, expressed similar feelings. “Why does art for the masses have to be such pablum? I don’t want to see the same thing over and over, just these different variations on the same thing. I want to see things that are different and controversial, that make people think.”