Worst Public Art: Blame the ‘experts’?

Boston critic Thomas Garvey has posted a compelling take on our Worst Public Art in New England project:

“Nothing shows up critical folly like pondering the dreck of the past – because it always passed through some committee’s critical filter, and was often even on somebody’s “best of” list at the time! (Not so long ago, it seems critics thought wind sculptures were a good idea, for instance.) So it’s worth remembering that public art is so bad partly because art criticism has been so bad.”

It’s definitely worth reading it all, here.

A list of all the Worst Public Art nominees so far is here. Submit your own nominations.

2 Responses to “Worst Public Art: Blame the ‘experts’?”

  1. Thomas Garvey says:

    Thanks for the link, Greg! But was I really trying to merely “blame the experts?” Well, maybe in part! But I think my intention (however poorly I may have communicated it) was to limn a kind of vicious cycle going on in our public art process between the “experts” and the general public – as well as to demonstrate that great, or at least exciting, public art is still possible. Part of the problem around here is that we just haven’t seen the real thing in so long, we’ve forgotten what it’s like!

  2. Greg Cook says:

    Sorry, didn’t mean to be too reductive about what you were trying to say. And thanks for your patience. It’s actually a thoughtful and nuanced take trying to figure out why why don’t have better public art — and why even a bit more quality stuff doesn’t get through the filter just by chance.