The Public Art Commission meets Wednesday the 8th, and they have news on the artists winning commissions for installation at the new Public Works building in progress.
From the May minutes:
[City staff] reported that the award process is complete. Brad Rude was selected for the exterior sculpture, and Claire Burbridge was selected for two interior drawing installations. In the process of planning engagement activities around the artists’ visit, which is tentatively planned Public Works Day, June 17.
Claire Burbridge is in collaboration with interior design team to ensure everything is complementary. Allen would like to send out a survey to employees to solicit ideas about what is important to them about their work or about Salem to inform the artist.
Artists would stay two nights and one day in Salem to engage employees and the public.
Rude is based in Walla Walla. Rude's sculpture is broadly representational, sometimes whimsical, and looks like it could be a fun addition to a building entry. His style seem more likely to be popular than more abstract or conceptual approaches.
Burbridge is based in Ashland. Burbridge's drawings appear closely patterned and biomorphic, a little like multicolored growth in a petri dish or bracket fungus on a tree, but also more abstract. (Picking up these themes might be apt for key public works responsibilities like tap and waste water treatment, as well as urban forestry and streams.)
It remains strange how little the public is actually involved in the selection of public art. Suddenly we are presented with the selection as a done deal, as if curation were the primary thing for the process. But if there is also expectation or hope the public will embrace the art, why aren't they given more voice during the initial selection process, a bit of dating game and chance to fall in love, or just to enjoy the pleasures of a crush?
These choices anyway, especially Rude's, seem better calibrated to public sentiment than recent selections for the Police Station and Library. So maybe that's more moot here. Still, the selection process is so hermetic.
Also in the packet is news that the Mattingly mural behind the Elsinore again needs restoration work, currently estimated for $20,000. For skepticism on the value of repeated cycles of restoration on an outdoor mural overlooking a parking lot, which at some future time will be redeveloped and will conceal the mural, see here previously, "Some Ironies about Restoring the Mattingly Mural." (2013)
There's also news on $9,000 graffiti abatement and restoration for Guidance of Youth in Bush Park.
On even stronger skepticism about that work see:
Some art is more enduring than other art, and we should not be afraid of embracing transience in art, embracing the fact that its conception, execution, and reception occurs in history, and is not somehow outside of history. Even the best art that somehow seems timeless, still exists in time. It's ok that not all art stands the test of time, or exists in a medium that experiences decay. New generations might want to give old art new context or even to cycle in new art, after all.