Is that supposed to be good public art?
When it comes to the arts, we are a lot of hot air

Graves and Mudede, Q.E.D.
I consider myself a pretty harsh critic, but I like that shovel. It's strange and unexpected and beautifully made.

Even After the Housing Bust, Americans Still Love the Suburbs

Despite the recent growth of big city downtowns, there is no widespread shift toward dense, urban living. Instead, the long term suburbanization of America continues.

By defining “urban” and “suburban” in this way, suburban growth is clearly outpacing urban growth. Growth in the “more suburban” neighborhoods was 0.73% in the past year, more than twice as high as in the “more urban” neighborhoods, where growth was just 0.35%. In fact, urban neighborhoods grew faster than suburban neighborhoods in only 5 of the 50 largest metros: Memphis, New York, Chicago, San Jose and Pittsburgh – and often by a really small margin. In the other 45 large metros, the suburbs grew faster than the more urban neighborhoods.…
Seattleites complaining about Seattle. THAT is the hot air, and The Stranger has always led the charge in that department.

Charles, Bogota and Havana are cities which have long been the cultural, not just political, capitols of their countries. New York is the American city which compares to them, not Seattle (or Chicago, or San Francisco, or any other American city with the possible exceptions of Los Angeles).

How does Seattle compare to Medellin?
@1 It's got a frickin' lazer beam. What more do you want?
Chuck, if you hate Seattle so much, move to Bogota or Havana. I'm sure somebody there would be happy to pay you money to spout drivel. Ha ha ha ha ha.
I also like the shovel. But I'm not really "into" art. My eyes just happen to look at it occasionally.
Colombia has too many damn Boteros (although the blown up dove in Medellin is pretty swell). Outstanding graffiti though.

Public art in Seattle often reflects the general dippiness. In that sense you could say it is appropriate.
A consensus obsessed "culture" produces crap public art?
Now THAT’S hard to believe.
Pronouncing a work of art "bad" is about as meaningful as pronouncing a particular flavor of ice cream "bad".
Bogota: drug money definitely buys nice things.

Havana: I'd rather have fast, nearly ubiquitous internet access and mediocre art than rare, slow and censored internet access and good art.

Seattle: mediocre public art is a good problem to have.
Pretty lame headline for a post about how lame something is.
The shovel with the laser beam is slightly better than what Bellevue City Hall has as a permanent display. It's a giant uprooted tree stump (aptly named Root) that someone painted silver. It's propped on its side. That's it. The visible tree roots are supposed to represent government transparency. Interesting concept, but fail IMHO.

photos from the artist's slick website:

Photos of what it actually looks like in the daytime:

@7, oh, you!
@14 commentary aside, at least get the facts correct. The piece is actually "cast bronze" not just a tree stump painted silver...
I've always wondered what you'd say about the bus stop at Denny & Yale.
The thing is in wishy washy, yet narcissistic Seattle, public art that is controversial and edgy gets painted over or taken down cause some stroller pushing ninnies from Crown Hill or Greenlake get offended, which leaves you with a lot of bland public art that is usually praised as being symbolic of us being an hip cosmopolitan city.

@4, with NYC, the growth is due to the vast majority of the area being city and people with money having to move to and gentrify ghettos cause the good neighborhoods cost too much to live in.
The shovel is dumb, but I really like the lions at that same light rail stop.

It is cast in bronze, but it is painted silver. From Corson's website:

"The old growth tree root system is cast in Bronze and treated with a special hematite silver paint."

Try again.
I didn't say in was "just" painted silver.
I love looking at and thinking about art and believe it can be a great public amenity. From what I know about public art in Havana and Bogata however it seems to be pretty standard stuff: statues of public heroes, people on horses, big columns celebrating the people, agriculture, industry and the like. Me, I'll take potable water, a low kid-napping rate, and my current standard of living (even now). I can and do buy my own art.
The fact that Avignon is above Copenhagen puts this whole system into question. Festivals clearly hold disproportionate value in the ratings.
@23 which means Fremont is a World Leader. Just get rid of the boring sections of Seattle, like Downtown, and we're World Class.
@18 your first point explicates the entire problem--Seattleites need to grow balls and stand up for good art--I walked through Pioneer Square on my way to Todd Jannausch's outdoor exhibition "Small Voids" and I was reminded how amazingly mealy-mouthed the art was--"over-the-sofa" is the winner of the day when it comes to the highest-end art in Seattle. I saw crap that looked like Richard Diebenkorn, I saw a few Motherwell rip-offs--but mostly bad anatomy studies and abstract color-studies covering every wall. But that is what sells.

The truth of all of this is that, ultimately Seattle let's down its own artists--it creates them with every purchase, it molds them every day. It leaves the Gage kids awash in their anatomic studies--Seattle patrons force these kids to never push beyond a kind of extremely-illustrative, mental/conceptual-abstraction that assures that their viewers don't have to think about the work they are purchasing. The same is true of the conceptual artists that Seattle promotes--(basically, expensive tschotskes,) a kind of furniturization and simplistic conceptuality. It rewards those artists who paint and sculpt pretty pictures that don't get uppity or in your face--forcing them to think about difficult issues. This bland/bored/boring kind of art patronage ensures a system of mediocrity and leads to bland/bored/boring artwork and nowhere is this clearer than in the realm of the public--where, those who are in charge of making these decisions are both only lightly educated (in the arts,) and more sensitive to offending Seattleites.

Seattleites need to expand their database of what art is, SAM needs to bring in more challenging artists and when they do--as they didn't do when Paul McCarthy--they need to let them show their most challenging work. SAM--especially needs to take more chances and challenge their audience. They also need to become a center--Benaroya--also for the various art scenes in Seattle--they need to (hire me) and work on more outreach--viewers should go to SAM and at a glance know what other things are going on in this city and beyond. Seattle needs to better connect with its alternative, urban, college, etc. artists--because that is the future. Too much energy and time is put into the diaspora of the over-the-sofa arts of Pioneer Square and downtown--and not enough time is put into performance art, (not singing and dancing or even highwire etc.) alternative art, conceptual, urban, street art--etc. So much of it withers on the vine. As I say on my blog--No more boring art--take a moment to challenge yourself--look at something that takes you out of your comfort level and find some way to promote that art--become a proselyte for the exciting, challenge yourself and love it!
@20 / 21 writing and reading your own comment fail...

No, what you did was imply that it was actually an uprooted stump painted silver. "It's a giant uprooted tree stump (aptly named Root) that someone painted silver. It's propped on its side. That's it."

I'm surprised at you, Mr Mudede, as I have a lot of respect for you and your professionalism. I find this petty cheap shot directed at a particular artist's, way more lame than any public art out there.

You're an idiot.
Nearly any installation at Suyama Space totally outshines most Seattle public art combined into a gumwad worthy of sticking to the Post Alley wall...thank you Suyama...
Mudede, you're encroaching on Graves' turf here. Best watch it, or she might cut ya.
Charles is correct. Just look at the 6 finalist designs for the space needle. Jesus Christ they suck.
The difference between "quaint," "funky," "original," and "iconic" public art and spaces and "empty," "lame," "cookie cutter," or "unimaginative" public art and spaces is 3 decades. Time. Nothing else. In 30 years, people's kids will come back to Seattle, and take a big, wistful, cleansing breath when they watch the shovel, cruising by on the light rail system they never lived without, and say "I'm home..." And the argument will be settled. Until then, enjoy your life.
First- its a lazy and hypocritical artist (doesnt matter if that artist is a writer, screenwriter, installation artist or what else) who doesnt credit another artist, even if he is criticizing her.

The shovel is called "Global Garden Shovel", and its by Victoria Fuller.

Should we just generically diss all movies about horsefucking?


Me, I am not a particularly big fan of the shovel, but I will defend to the death the right of the artist to make it, and understand that the process that gave us the shovel is a long and tortuous one, not anywhere as easy or free from compromise as anonymous horsefucking movie writers might think. (being a horsefucking movie writer is not in any way negative- its just an easy way to label someone instead of actually crediting them for their creative work)

Public ANYTHING means compromise. That means not everyone gets their favorite flavor. Suck up man, and live with it.

As for Charles' actual point, I am in 100% agreement, even though he thinks its cute to dance around it rather than saying it, so I will-

We need higher taxes in this country, particularly on the wealthy, so we can fund public art, performance, literature, dance, music, and, yes, movies about horsefucking...

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