Thursday, March 5, 2015

Avenging Angel of Autoism Welcomes new Shrine

It is of course snarky and low to mock the new installation at the corner of State and Liberty.

But we're gonna do it anyway.

The Avenging Angel welcomes a new altar
The City's own announcements about the installation use a flattering angle to make it look like there's more space between the pole and the cube on one side, and more space between the cube and the garbage can on the other.

The piece actually doesn't have room to breathe and it is crowded by both the light pole and garbage can. The installation site is not in a very good place for this piece. While it will have more passers-by here than it did at the Conference Center, it's still jammed into a bulb-out spandrel rather than given its own real space. It's afterthought, not integral.

Even though it has a fancy, semi-mirrored exterior, in form and location it looks more like a telecommunications cabinet or vault playing dress-up.

Or an altar to the Avenging Angel of Autoism.
If we are going to be serious about making good places to walk, and stroll, and shop, and enjoy downtown, we will have to make a 180-degree turn and attend more to the rivers of cars that suck the air and life out of the sidewalks.

The problem isn't that the sidewalks don't have enough neat furniture or things to look at.

The problem is all the cars.

Remember Ada Louis Huxtable's words:
Some day, some American city will discover the Malthusian truth that the greater number of automobiles, the less the city can accommodate them without destroying itself. The downtown that turns itself into a parking lot is spreading its own dissolution.
Until we grapple with the cars, and the space they consume, we'll be more than a little like Flatlanders contemplating the Cube.


Anonymous said...

Ouch. You are too harsh! It's true the sculpture doesn't have enough space, but maybe they'll learn and do a better job with the next ones. Just because this one is not perfect doesn't mean the whole thing won't be an improvement. You must admit the new site is much, much better than the "sculpture garden"!

Anonymous said...

Matchbox cars should be the votive offering! The undulating surface needs a course and a steady supply of the toy cars.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

This is maybe a little interesting. In the packet for the March 14th meeting of the Public Art Commission...

"[Staff] reported an estimate to prepare a cleaning strategy for the untitled Bruce West cube in front of Ritters in downtown Salem. The on-call conservator estimates $2,000 to develop the strategy."

Maybe art that needs frequent cleaning is also not such a good idea to place in the public realm?