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Public Art - Do you like it? e.g. Arena or Bastion Sq.?


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#41 Barra

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 03:45 PM

Have a look at the following website, which provides an inventory of public art in the Capital Regional District. http://www.landmarkspublicart.ca
It is searchable by municipality, by neighbourhood, by type of artwork, and by artist. It also provides links to the public art policies in Victoria, Saanich, and Esquimalt.

The inventory also includes the selection process for each piece, which I find useful. A number of pieces were installed as part of a re-zoning "bonus density" amenity package. This process, in my opinion, has resulted in some pretty good quality art, and bypasses the city's public art selection process.

When I checked the inventory for James Bay, it has 17 listings, but does not include murals that were done thru neighbourhood grant funding - namely the mural on the (emergency equipment) container in Irving Park (Menzies and Michigan), and the paintings in the window frames at Jayne's Florists, both of which were done by Cheryl Johnson-Strauss. It also needs to be updated to include the cool new sculpture just installed at 225 Menzies - a "flying" cyclist - designed, I believe, by Roger Tinney (the project consultant for the 225 Menzies building).

Included in the James Bay inventory is a black granite sculpture which was installed to commemorate the death of Dr. Inazo Nitobe and the twinning of Victoria and Morioka, located on the Dallas Rd. waterfront. Designed in Japan (I believe), It was originally a lovely, simple statement, typical of Japanese restraint. Then the city, not recognizing that it is a piece of art in itself, stuck on a brass plaque ten yrs later. The plaque totally destroys the symmetry of the east face of the piece. Then an iron rail fence was put around it and it was forgotten about. Now it is surrounded by overgrown, unkempt grass and decorated with seagull poop. How embarrassing. I am ashamed every time I see groups of Japanese tourists around it....
Pieta VanDyke

#42 victorian fan

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Posted 08 February 2009 - 03:59 PM

225 Menzies


That made my heart skip a beat. I used to live at 224 Menzies.

#43 Bernard

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 09:56 AM

There is a new website out there with all the public art in Saanich, Victoria and Esquimalt

#44 G-Man

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Posted 10 February 2009 - 10:27 AM

Seems they have left quite a bit out.

I only looked at Victoria but missing at least were:

The Mosaic in Franklin Green
The Mosaic on the Mosaic Building
Wild Fire Bakery
The two sculptures around the CRA building.
I am sure I will think of others...

#45 sebberry

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Posted 12 February 2009 - 07:02 PM

I like public art and find it adds vibrancy to the city. I also think that a lot can be accomplished with tasteful landscaping. I like the walkway/gardens in the Sprint Center picture above.

The problem with Victoria is that stuff is done then is poorly maintained so it becomes overgrown and dirty.

#46 Rob Randall

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Posted 13 February 2009 - 09:22 AM

Included in the James Bay inventory is a black granite sculpture which was installed to commemorate the death of Dr. Inazo Nitobe and the twinning of Victoria and Morioka, located on the Dallas Rd. waterfront. Designed in Japan (I believe), It was originally a lovely, simple statement, typical of Japanese restraint. Then the city, not recognizing that it is a piece of art in itself, stuck on a brass plaque ten yrs later. The plaque totally destroys the symmetry of the east face of the piece. Then an iron rail fence was put around it and it was forgotten about. Now it is surrounded by overgrown, unkempt grass and decorated with seagull poop. How embarrassing. I am ashamed every time I see groups of Japanese tourists around it....


This is not surprising. The City can be incredibly ham-handed when it comes to this. They are often baffled by simple concepts. They get that gardens need regular planting and weeding, grass needs mowing and flower baskets get daily watering. But the art is neglected. Sometimes the artists themselves have to phone City Hall and beg them to do required maintenance. For instance, everyone with a car or boat knows that aluminum needs to be washed with soapy water from time to time or it will get corroded and pitted. Simple maintenance prolongs the life of public art. Look around and you'll see the pitiful condition of much of our outdoor art. I'm sure it would be better appreciated if it were kept to the same standards as our gardens and boulevards.

"[Randall's] aesthetic poll was more accurate than his political acumen"

-Tom Hawthorne, Toronto Globe and Mail


#47 Holden West

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 12:47 PM

The art of conversation
Monday Magazine

Re: “Controversial Creations,” March 5-11

In a recent newspaper article by Robert Fulford about a new book on renowned artist David Hockney by Lawrence Weschler and his previous book on Robert Irwin, Fulford notes that, “They shift the reader several levels above the peevish bickering that often deadens cultural discussion and remind us that contemporary art, on some of its best days, draws us into the midst of debates that are wonderfully creative and crucially important while nevertheless irresolvable—and also, like a Hockney drawing, deeply and seriously charming.” I long for that level of debate and public criticism in Victoria.

Legitimate artists are people that make works of art primarily because they have to. They are compelled by a sometimes visible but more often invisible and inexplicable muse. One can argue that this impetus to simply do, or make art, is the highest achievement of our species.

When we verbalize or write thoughts about art that bend the arc of cultural conversation from that concerning, say, the emotive aspect of the play of shadow across a sculpture, or the delight or sorrow induced by a combination of colour and shape in a painting, to the “peevish bickering” exemplified in parts of a recent article and in some letters in your magazine, we tragically miss the point and the benefit of art.

Franc D’Ambrosio, Victoria
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#48 VicHockeyFan

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Posted 15 April 2009 - 01:52 PM

Methinks the Sprint Center is the coolest arena in North America. It's absolutely beautiful. And it doesn't even have a major league sports tenant.


...either does "the Ralph"

All concourse floors are granite, each seat is constructed of leather and cherry wood, and there are 48 full luxury suites, two mini suites, and two enormous club rooms featuring the longest freestanding bars in the state. The training facility features a 10,000 sq. ft. weight room and underwater treadmill, fourteen locker rooms, the extra Olympic Sheet of Ice, and with the addition of the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center for the basketball and volleyball programs, what you have is more than a world-class facility; you have the Ralph Engelstad Arena.


http://www.theralph....efault.asp?p=13

#49 Phil McAvity

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 10:36 PM

Well, it is art, and it is part of the condo. The piece was site specific. It's a condo next to a major traffic artery. I think it puts a bug in the ear of commuters.

Just like the arena piece is site specific. That is a barren windswept corner and I think that played a major role in the genesis of the sculpture. The aim I think was to create a piece that you didn't merely view from a distance but actually had to get up close to, actually get inside. That's why if you scaled it up ten times bigger (or smaller) it wouldn't work. It has to be human sized. If you looked at Baden's portfolio you noticed that his work deals with the senses and how humans physically interact with technology.


Because Rob is also an artist only he has understands what was going on in Mowry Baden's mind when Baden designed that meaningless, taxpayer-funded piece of crap in front of the arena. It's amazing how he has become an apologist for a guy that the overwhelming majority of people have reviled and ridiculed. It's also amazing how only he can fully understand the incredibly complicated, deep thought and analyses that went into that piece (of shit) that the rest of us simple, uneducated troglodytes can't begin to fathom since we haven't been to art school, like he and Mowry.

Such hubris! :rolleyes:

The only good thing I can say about Baden are his mattresses in his "day is for resting, night is for sleeping". The mattresses look quite realistic. I actually had to get out of the car and touch one before I realized it was fake and thus realized it was an art piece.

But then I haven't been to art school which is apparently, only for geniuses.
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#50 Nparker

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 08:39 AM

...But then I haven't been to art school which is apparently, only for geniuses.


WOW! Bitter much?

#51 Phil McAvity

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 12:22 PM

^I am actually becoming quite used to the hubris from most Canadian artists these days. I saw Atom Egoyan interviewed recently and he said the same thing they almost all say-that Canadian artists should be entitled to almost unlimited government largesse and that they shouldn't have to be censored in any way so we the taxpayer should have to pay artists and yet have no say in the art that they create. My first question is, what makes art so essential that everyone should have to pay for it? I really don't think we should. Medicare is something that is important enough to force the taxpayer to pay for, not art. If people want to support the arts, they should pay for it out of their own pockets. I believe that there are plenty of other businesses that are at least as important as art and yet they receive little or no subsidies. Holden also believes that arts shouldn't be put through the "bureaucratic meat grinder". Everything else is fine when subjected to oodles of red tape, but not art, it is just far too important to be messed around with by simple-minded bureaucrats that don't have the intensive art training he has, so only he truly understands what other artists like him, are trying to convey. We should all just foot the bill and accept whatever crap is thrown our way (like "pavilion rock and shell" :rolleyes:). Yeah, sounds pretty fair to me. Even Egoyan, who by Canadian standards is very successful has yet to make much money creating films. Even his most successful outings garner a tiny fraction of the number of movie-goers that successful American movies attract and American filmmakers don't get the breaks and subsidies that Canadian filmmakers do. It's almost enough to make one think that the Canadian model of subsidizing the arts doesn't work, but it's the Canadian way-support mediocrity and discourage success. Not all Canadian artists have this mentality though, I knew one guy who wanted to be an actor and believed that the arts shouldn't be government subsidized. One guy.

Now maybe you understand my position NParker.
In chains by Keynes

#52 Nparker

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 12:44 PM

[quote=Phil McAvity;100414Now maybe you understand my position NParker.[/quote]

I have never NOT understood your position Phil; your ultra right wing, verging on anarchistic points-of-view are really quite clear. I simply choose to disagree with them most of the time.:D

#53 Phil McAvity

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 02:27 PM

^okay, then counter my position with one of your own.
In chains by Keynes

#54 Phil McAvity

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 12:48 AM

So I guess you are like a lot of people-you can only disagree and complain, while offering no ideas or solutions of your own.
In chains by Keynes

#55 G-Man

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 07:56 AM

I like public art.

#56 yodsaker

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 11:05 AM

I like public art too.
I don't like art by committee because it usually results in safe junk.
I don't like the Arena piece but that's just me.
But I do like that it got people talking about art.

#57 Jacques Cadé

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 11:25 AM

Getting this thread back on track, I'm surprised there hasn't been any discussion about "The Homecoming", a prominent piece of public art that the Navy is raising $150,000 to have sculpted by the same guy who did the Terry Fox statue at Mile Zero. A photo:

According to the story here, the sculpture, to be unveiled in May 2010 on Inner Harbour land made available by the Provincial Capital Commission, will depict "the happy reunion of a girl and her father, a sailor just home from sea, as her dog looks on."

I support our armed forces, and if they can raise the money, great. There's just one problem: the statue is pure kitsch. Art, to me, requires a degree of interpretation, and this looks like a Hallmark card rendered in bronze. Does anyone agree, or am I just a crank?

#58 Baro

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 11:51 AM

That's a hallmark card, not a statue...
"beats greezy have baked donut-dough"

#59 yodsaker

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 12:23 PM

Definitely a Hallmark Moment in 3-D.

Art should engage, challenge and show you things you haven't seen before or at least show things in ways you haven't seen them before.

#60 D.L.

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Posted 17 May 2009 - 12:29 PM

and perhaps entirely appropriate. do you really think military families want to stand there and try to interpret something?

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