Why public art sucks

12 Aug

Tristin Hopper had a great article recently in the National Post on why public art is so consistently awful.

It boils down to basically two things:

(a) The ‘art’ has to stand up to outdoor conditions, which greatly affects the kinds of materials that can be used, and

(b) Cities have budgets for art, which naturally bureaucrats ‘have’ to spend so they’ll keep the cashflow coming next budget, and of course said bureaucrats are unelected and unaccountable to the public, and so spend money as they please on whatever they please, as long as the money gets spent that’s all that ultimately matters to them.

IMO, the solution is simple; governments should get out of bankrolling public art, and instead should only erect monuments and statues to great individuals, war dead, etc., and leave the arts to the private sector, who at least won’t be wasting taxpayers’ money on crap; just their own…

Some might suggest getting public input, but frankly, given the divisions in today’s society, esp. in light of prog / SJW activists decrying anything not created by, say, transgendered black Muslim wheelchair-bound lesbians, all that will do is result in prog hijacking of such hearings, and more social conflict. No, we can’t have nice things any more, because progs. So leave it to the marketplace, instead; again, at least taxpayer dollars won’t be bankrolling agitprop and waste.


12 responses to “Why public art sucks

  1. Southern Man

    August 12, 2017 at 10:05 am

    For a counter-example I nominate Edmond, Oklahoma, which through a combination of public and private dollars has commissioned dozens of small outdoor art projects, ranging from abstract to classical, that have managed to offend no one and please ‘most everybody who sees them. Search for “Edmond Oklahoma Outdoor Art” to get a taste.

    • Will S.

      August 12, 2017 at 10:09 am

      Well done, Edmond, OK.

      They could teach Canadian cities a thing or two…

    • Will S.

      August 12, 2017 at 10:31 am

      I also know a small city in Ontario, Orangeville, whose city government took tree stumps from rotting trees that otherwise would have needed to have been removed, and turned them into lacquered, weatherproof wooden sculptures of various characters, animals, etc.

      There certainly are exceptions…

  2. feeriker

    August 12, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Public anything generally sucks, for all the reasons you cite here and more. It’s a realt testament to the inability/unwillingness of huge segments of the public to see the obvious when far superior private-sector alternatives are rejected in favor of government garbage. Maybe the “free” aspect of it appeals (even though it isn’t really “free” at all).

  3. Carnivore

    August 15, 2017 at 9:45 am

    There’s something more behind it all. Why the ugly art when, for example, Edmond, OK can do much better? Thirty years ago, my first employer out of university started the process to move my division into new office space. Two people were tasked with deciding on the wall art for the new office. Back then, without the internet, there were large paper catalogs available for office furnishings and one dedicated for office art.

    I stopped by one time and they showed me their selections so far. They were all abstract prints of paint blobs. I challenged them about such choices and asked if anything else weren’t available. They gave me the catalog to browse and I was astounded by the selection – abstract mustard and ketchup prints all the way to reproductions of Renaissance masters, all for similar prices. I then pushed them to consider 19th century landscapes, which are innocuous, pleasant and restful. They said they would consider it. Unfortunately, not long after, the company nixed the move.

    My point is, why, even in private business, would individuals pick such trash to look at 8 or more hours a day? I think there’s an E. Michael Jones volume somewhere on my bookshelf that I haven’t read for as long that addresses it.

    • Will S.

      August 15, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      Hmmm. What do your recall his contention was about what’s behind it?

      • Carnivore

        August 16, 2017 at 10:13 am

        I believe he addressed the cause for the artists creating trash – sexual immorality. The book is Degenerate Moderns. Haven’t read it since it came out – 24 years ago. Don’t remember the details.

        Jones is always thought provoking, even if you don’t agree with him. I see he came out with a Kindle book 2 years ago titled: “Ethnos Needs Logos: Why I Spent Three Days in Guadalajara Trying to Persuade David Duke to Become a Catholic”. Now that would make for an interesting read. 🙂

      • Will S.

        August 16, 2017 at 9:28 pm



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