Friday, April 10, 2020

City Announces new Art for the Library Remodel

Hey, here's some pleasant news that's completely unrelated to our current crisis moment.

"Cutouts," "Wall stacks," "Hawthornes" - relevant examples
from Amanda Wojick
In the City Manager's new update is a bit on the art selected for the Library's seismic remodel (unfortunately the Public Art Commission itself has not published any discussion or materials):
The public art selection committee for the Library has selected Amanda Wojick as the artist to move forward with for the Library’s commissioned piece. Amanda is a professor at the University of Oregon and has many public commissioned pieces on her resume. She titled her proposed piece as a “Dewey Decimal Waterfall” and described (sorry, no visual of the concept) it as: “The proposed project will be a large wall relief comprised of tilted, painted and welded steel planes. The composition is inspired by the many beloved waterfalls in the state of Oregon, together with the symbols and shapes found within the Dewey Decimal system. The shapes will be arranged in layers, creating a three-dimensional relief that changes from different perspectives.” [links added]
She's repped by Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland.

The cutouts, wall stacks, and hawthornes (see her site and also Elizabeth Leach's) look like relevant examples that point to what a Dewey Decimal waterfall might itself look like.

The cascade of knowledge and information, along with the nod to our winter weather when rains make the library especially welcome, on the surface is an apt set of metaphors. Hopefully the waterfall will be something children can grasp as art and interesting and lovely enough to engage adults also.

WPA poster - via Library of Congress
(many more posters here!)
The commission is also a reminder that with all the museums, symphonies, and other arts organizations shutting down temporarily and some of them permanently, we will need a WPA style arts program at the Federal level.  You may recall the Federal Art Center in the old High School where Macy's is today.

Salem Federal Art Center at the old high school
(From a history of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis)


Susann Kaltwasser said...

And once again it seems we get to pay for some 'art' that we had no say in choosing. Guess we (the public) don't matter in such things. When I raised this concern over a year ago, it was explained to me that the general public is not sophisticated enough to know art when we see it.

Salem Breakfast on Bikes said...

It is strange that the Commission doesn't select a slate of finalists and then hold a Public Hearing with an opportunity for the public to help select the winner. Or some other kind of more public and transparent process.