Monday, July 24, 2006

Art Attack

Photo by Jim Robinson from Tribune website

Today Deborah Horan reports in the Chicago Tribune of vandalism against public art in Evanston Art Center’s sculpture garden. The sculptures, interestingly titled Calm Before the Storm, were first attacked on the 12 of July, and then again on the 17, making the final toll 8 of the 15 works by artists Micki LeMieux damaged.

In a truly professional tone, Executive Director of the Evanston Art Center went on record:

"We intend to reinstall every one of these pieces," Leder said. "But if these mindless, malicious malingers want to knock things down, at some point we're just going to stop."

Attacking public art is on the evildoer scale of warning signs. Especially when multiple attacks occur. That’s assuming both incidents were related. At any rate, defacing public art is not the same as tagging a building or a train car. It is symbolic, and it is an insult to the community the artwork is made. Sure, a lot of public art isn’t the greatest, but it should be respected. Especially since those commissioning the work do it as a gift or a sign of good will towards the public. Public art serves the noble goal of making a city or town a community, and aims to uplift the residents through giving them culture and beauty in their everyday spaces. These romantic notions don’t always succeed, but they are signs of a healthy city. So to do something like deface or destroy something made for people to enjoy is a blatant insult.

It says something about your character when you attack a work of art the way vandalizing a religious/community building, or abusing animals does.

Full Tribune story

• Evanston Art Center's Sculpture on the Grounds webpage

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