“that flower pot thing” faces a challenge

Life imitates art – or is it the other way round? If “that flower pot thing” above is the subject of genuine disbelief in dinner party conversations, then surely “the challenger” below is worthy of our aesthetic attention? If the dinner party consensus is that the pylon for the new Gungahlin Drive Extension Bridge over Belconnen Way “looks better” than the “flower pot”, then what does that tell us about the quality of decision-making which leads to the installation of public art works on the streets of Canberra? Read on…

If, like me, you wonder about the art status of such things, in Canberra, it’s art once it’s been launched by the Chief Minister. Skip the guff, check the final line in the plaque below. And all the other plaques around town. Unlike London, we specialise in a scattergun approach, where we set minor works free on every street corner. But each new artwork has to be officially set adrift… This piece of street decor was personally selected by the Chief Minister, and launched as marker for the nonexistent Latin American Quarter! Thus we take extra pleasure when we encounter unofficial readymades like this Pylon above, which has no political or cultural stigma to carry.

P.S. Dear Minister for the Arts and Heritage. Stop work on the bridge! Iconophilia wishes to nominate The Pylon for Instant Heritage Status.


#1 byrd on 04.15.10 at 11:46 pm

So where then, the bronzed words for the fat eagle out side the kebab shop in civic? It roost’s upon a poster column and i thought it heavy street art (cement dressed as bronze). But I’ve been assured it was sought (the artist is Chinese) and placed. So its like proper art then.

#2 Nigel on 04.16.10 at 10:05 am

Actually, byrd, there is a plaque. The “Young Eagle” 1989 is by Qian Jian Hua and yes it was “launched” by the CM. Well it didn’t fly anywhere, it’s still sitting. Who writes the guff? “The sculpture evokes the strength, optimism, and freedom of youth – a spirit that can be embraced at any age”! Of course it does! It’s obvious. To any spin doctor…

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