Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rollercoaster Art

Originally uploaded by it's knapptime

Ok, ok. It's not good to hate on a piece of art, just for karma's sake, in my opinion. I generally give people the benefit of the doubt for their creations because I know time and effort and inspiration of some kind went into it. Besides, being a wannabe artist myself, I would hope that if my art was misunderstood that perhaps people would at least venture, "hey, she tried," or, "she probably gets this, even if it seems like garbage to me."

Sigh. So I say this.

But Nashville has a spectacle of public art, a very expensive piece of public art, which sits in the most precious part of my downtown. It sits on the river bank, on the east side by the stadium, so it's very much my side of town, and when you drive down Broadway, it sits framed by the Lower Broad buildings and the river below it. Couldn't BE a better spot for art.

Sigh, again. Nashville decided to put a piece of rollercoaster there. I'm sure the artist is a great person, and a wonderful artist in her own right. I'm sure of it. I'm saying all sorts of these disclaimers only to then say - but are you serious?!? That piece of red-rollercoaster-track-looking-thing? With steel poles that run through it, and that is what Nashville's grandest display of public art is? Red tracks?

I see it everyday. It makes me mad. I've called it "trash" while Judge said, "I kind of like it." Whimsical or not, cryptic or not, it is a waste of space to me. I want a sculpture that took time and effort and detail, I want a huge contraversial satanic monolith that makes everyone angry and gasp and shocked - but we have a piece of modern art that neither offends nor explains, nor endears itself to the millions of tourists that see it every year when they visit Music City, USA. I suppose it did rile me - so perhaps it is doing it's job under the "contraversial" department, but I just hate it - I think it is so stupid that I can't believe that our city government paid a lot of money for that piece of crap.

It's called, Ghost Ballet for the East Bank Machineworks by Alice Ayock. So the name lends itself to have one think, "Oh, it is representative of the industrial banks of Nashville, the barges lumbering down the Cumberland, the industry that slowly disappears as we gentrify everything. THAT surely is the reason for the twisting metal that slanders the east side of the river." But I don't. I see a rollercoaster. I think of Six Flags.

Sigh, thrice. Then comes this picture. I like pictures of my adopted town, skyscapes, people, you name it. And I recently found this one, looking through the red entrails of the piece people swear is art, and the city behind it. I don't know much about photography, but I believe the photo has been doctored with color, photoshop, etc., still, it has made me think differently, sort of, of the malice I feel for Ayock's work. I'm sure she is great and the other work she has done has a better feel to it or a clearer purpose, but I'm softening. I look at this picture and I lose a little bit of the anger I feel for pointless and expensive and over-hyped art.

It's like when I read a literary journal and see poems published that are like reading a eight-year-old's assignment of his thoughts on Arbor Day, and I wonder, "how was this published?" But alas, it was, they always will be, and I will continue to be a pretentious snob about things I cannot stand, like a Janis Joplin, Michael McClure, and advertising.

I'm a snot, and I'm sorry. But at least I can admit defeat when a photo puts something I'm snotty about in a pretty light, right? Or am I just hoping for redemption for my evil thoughts?

I should work now.

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