A person who appears to be ambling aimlessly, but is secretly in search of adventure.

8.03.2009

Art can be everywhere

I never noticed that there are well over 1000 defunct emergency call boxes all over the city even though I have loved here well over 8 years. And I certainly never noticed that 122 of them have been decorated by various artists as part of a Cultural Tourism DC project called Art On Call. I think adorning these boxes is a fabulous idea, but Philip Kennicott asks some good questions about the relevance of this project as public art in yesterday's WaPo:
Does Art on Call beautify the city in a broad, collective way, or does it promote the "art" of a wide and uneven range of private artists? Is it even art, or should we invent some new term, such as civic decoration? The best hope for more Art on Call will come from artists who have seen as much of it as possible, who can identify and reinvent the proper spirit of the project, which is only rarely (but rewardingly) anarchic, interventionist, clever and modest in spirit.
I love finding art in unexpected places and I love seeing art being made by anyone with a creative spirit. Some of the works, like the one pictured above, are quite nice and well executed. However, many seem to be second-thoughts. I think that a large-scale public art project like this can make an impact and be noticed if it is guided with intent and purpose. Publi art projects ought to have some sort of oversight as well so they do not become a mish-mash of overlooked decoration. Just needs a little public art funding, which may be tough to come by these days when budgets are being cut across the city.

Image: By Jodi Westrick. Michael Ross created this fire box art in 2005.

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