Here’s a history lesson for you.
The impulse to create public art has spanned since the earliest of times, creating art as a record of history, to build communities and inspire the public. – Fair enough no?
But public artwork is more than that, Public artwork ennobled and became a means of asserting dominance on the current conquering cultures, whilst monumental Art and architectural embellishments were used to promote religion and assert the power of the church and/or ruling class.
Now look at it this way.
I’ll leave these images there for you to let that sink in.
Things evolved (but we can see that they have not changed much)… Carrying on…
Developments in early twentieth century lead public art to stem in the US from its precedents in Europe. The role of public art at that time was strictly to embellish buildings and public spaces as a representation of power, even more common than that; was decorative work with narrative and/or symbolic form was usually as a commemorative figures and depictions of leaders and heroes.
By the middle of the twentieth century the United States began to embrace the idea of public art and thus took on the responsibility to fund these actions and create a comprehensive federal program whereby the (WPA) Works Progress Administration would fund and commission visual artists to create permanent artworks for federal buildings. This action was the pioneering example in the United states that proved the understanding of the importance towards public artwork. Though the initial plan was aimed to be used simply for aesthetical purposes this opened a pathway for the contemporary artist to create work for a broader role in public places.
The concept of ‘Art in public places’ was the thought of creating a public realm rather than simply placing art in it, thus reinforcing a sense of place and occasion.
So it’s become more like this.
Maurizio Cattelan’s L.o.v.e.
Let me clarify- (let me rant)
For those of you who don’t know.. the difference between the previous images, and the one above..
The difference is that one image is of a sculpture that belongs to Cattelan (an italian visual artist). This image portrays the eleven-meter-high installation of a marble hand displaying the middle finger, was placed in front of the Milan Stock Exchange building during the economic recession, this being a direct cue on Italy’s financial capital. Cattelan uses the site to create a comment on the international banking community, whereby he raises the collective ‘sentiment’, which in relation makes the space a key element to reflect on the current situation.
The second set of images? Well I’m not sure how to describe them, other than the obvious.. horrendous canvas’ propaganda political shit polluting the country with ugly ass slogans. -Also known as
‘Why the fuck would you waste all that money on that, when you can invest it in the arts (or any literally anything else other than the waste that it is)’
Political statement anyone?