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Echelman Update


In a controversial decision, the Phoenix City Council has decided to proceed with a large public sculpture by Boston-based artist Janet Echelman. You can read the full story here. The short version, though, is that art and culture won out over the objections of those who do not see value in art.

Here are two great quotes from the piece:

"Attention citizens of Phoenix," one resident wrote to the newspaper, "our city government is run by morons!"

"I've always said that you can't have a great city if you don't have the arts," he told me. "And that means a broad spectrum. Not only a sculpture like this, but the performing arts and more. But really, if you get something that everybody agrees upon in art, then nobody is going to notice it. People will notice this sculpture."

Ultimately, though, I think this quote from Mayor Phil Gordon makes the best argument that can be made for large-scale public art, especially in the face of a public that might not see the value of the work.

"In addition to defining a culture, which art does, it's also an economic tool," Mayor Gordon said. "That 1 percent attracts businesses, tourists. It helps local merchants. People are drawn to cultured places."

Read our original post on the Echelman controversy here.

Image: Janet Echelman, She Changes, 2005
Waterfront plaza, Porto and Matosinhos, Portugal
Height 50 m X 150 m X 150 meters
Tenara® PTFE architectural fiber
Commission for Praca Cidade Salvador

About Author

Matthew Nash is the founder of Big Red & Shiny. He is Associate Professor of Photography and New Media at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University and was the 2011-12 Chair of the University Faculty Assembly. Nash is half of the artist collaborative Harvey Loves Harvey, who are currently represented by Gallery Kayafas in Boston and have exhibited in numerous venues since 1992.

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