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Offensive Public Art

            Public art is a recognized academic field. It brings together the issues of its time and addresses a larger audience. With issues surrounding funding, appropriate content and location, public art is more an object of controversy than of admiration. Aesthetic concerns about the art itself are frequently irrelevant in public art controversies, although that is how the issue is usually expressed. What is at stake and of true concern is the thing that the art stands for in the public sphere at that particular place and time. .
             So by what standard is public art judged? This question was faced to Sarasota's Public Art Committee in the case involving the "Adventure Mountain" sculpture. The sculpture was approved for the driveway of Kane Plaza, which is city property. The committee was reluctant to put it there; they felt that it was too detailed of a piece to be put in a traffic circle as so they say. An opportunity to rid city of the piece passed by when the Public Art Committee and the City Commissioners took seriously the word of an appraiser who deemed the artist's credentials as solid. The application for public art, which developers are required to fill, states that the credentials of an artist must include a resume as well. David Band, the developer of "Adventure Mountain", did not provide the artist's resume nor did the appraiser provide any substantial evidence concerning the artist's credentials as being solid. Is this work an original? Definitely not, it is a reproduction but certainly a beautiful piece. Should the city allow works of art that are not one of a kind and that can be found in just about any auction down south? Doing so doesn't necessarily entail that the city is settling for less. In fact, public art is half of one percent of construction costs anyway. Who cares who the artist is; city developers do not care about those matters. They don't dive too deep like art critics would, or should I say how the public would (Altabe)?.

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