City passes, on public art piece Comments on Stories, posted by Editor, Pleasanton Weekly Online, on Aug 12, 2012 at 9:59 am
Does anyone doubt that art is subjective? The School Board unanimously approved artwork comprising eight panels planned for district headquarters property last month but a city advisory committee decided the figures portrayed are not a proper representation of Pleasanton.
Read the full story here Web Link posted Saturday, August 11, 2012, 6:56 AM
Posted by Daniel Bradford, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Aug 12, 2012 at 12:30 pm
I'm very much in favor of using art to transform our public spaces. The right artwork can completely alter people's perception of the interior or exterior of a building.
As for whether or not this art is appropriate, I won't set myself up as a judge of that, but I don't think popular opinion is necessarily a guide to the value of public art. I do remember that there was a lot of controversy regarding the murals that the famous Mexican artist Diego Rivera painted in various places around the United States in the 1930s. One of these was Man at the Crossroads, painted at Rockefeller Plaza; the Rockefellers objected to the piece and had it almost immediately destroyed! Fortunately, other murals of Diego Rivera--including the one at City College of San Francisco--had more enlightened patrons. The wildly popular Vietnam Memorial--aka the Wall--faced fierce opposition when it was first proposed, because most people wanted a traditional memorial (statues and a plaque). It just goes to show how public opinion can change over time.
I do have a question: How much money did the Board authorize for this mural? I can't imagine the artist works for free. I hate to say it, but perhaps a public mural shouldn't be the top priority for a district strapped by state budget cuts and the lack of a local parcel tax. If the art was paid for by a state or federal arts grant, or via private donations, that would be a different matter altogether.
Posted by Pleasanton Native, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on Aug 12, 2012 at 5:44 pm
Public art? What? P-town is Pleasanton, not Paris or ... Peroo or Porshugal for gosh sakes!
At least let's have some diversity ... like we have in this city! Were there any Germins in the mural? Any Austrlians? Any English? Any Swedes? Didn't think so. P-town has worked hard to be very open to diversity. As demographics show, for example, are low single-digit rate of African Americans demonstrate theirs a remarkable position regarding racial diversity.
And besides, unless it's a mural of Ronald Reagen, I wouldn't support it anyway.
Posted by resident, a resident of the Downtown neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2012 at 10:03 am
A community drive??? Are you KIDDING me??? How many times can you people keep coming back to the community to fund things that have nothing to to with education?
If you want to do a community drive try doing it for school supplies, actual classroom learning or something worthwhile. Do not even think about asking me for money (parcel tax anyone?) for anything when you are dumb enough to think something like that needs to be put to a community drive for funds.
Posted by Claudette , a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2012 at 11:44 am
As an artist, I understand that "Art is Subjective." It's all about personal opinion and that's the way it should be. Most artists paint for themselves and hope that others will enjoy or be curious enough to take a look at it for more than just a quick second. My personal take on the "Blending Family" is not a positive one. All of the people depicted are cloaked and with their heads down, giving a feeling of sadness to me... Not what I would want in a children's location or anywhere in public viewing. I'm sure it wasn't the artists intention to create a sad impression, but there you have it, it makes me feel sad looking at it.
"Community Drive".... I agree that I would prefer my money go towards School Supplies and Basic Needs of the community. Personally I feel our Small Community has enough Public Paid art going on at this time of economic challenges. Now on the other hand, if our Private sector that has money to invest, wants to spend their money on Public Art, be my guest ~ But the art selected to be viewed by the public day in and day out needs to be Representative of the Community and be a Positive influence for the majority, which can be challenging as "Art is Subjective." ;)
Posted by Beth, a resident of the Mohr Park neighborhood, on Aug 13, 2012 at 12:20 pm
1. Art is subjective - and I personally like both the pieces shown in the article. I do think that "Blended Family" would be better in some place like the library, civic center, etc. rather than school district. For those unaware, there is a large Hispanic/Latino population in Pleasanton.
2. The "Community Drive" would have asked for funding from individuals and organizations interested in ART, not those who are interested in funding public school programs. A very different segment of Pleasanton's population. They live in this community too.
3. If you are interested in helping the schools with money going directly to programs and students look at donating to your local school's Parent Teacher Association (PTA) or Parent Faculty Club (PFC) or at Foothill Athletic and Academic Boosters. The other group that collects monies to donate district wide is PPIE (Pleasanton Partnerships in Education).
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore, on Aug 13, 2012 at 5:03 pm
I find the mural unimaginative. I read it frontally, from left to right. The human forms appear like hunched over flat blobs of Latino peasants, perhaps there is an implication of volume but because of the manner in which the body forms are painted, at a distance they appear uninterestingly flat. The directional thrust of the curved lines on the hats implies volume, roundness but I also don't find it convincing. I don't have any objections to the lack of facial features other than the partially shaped apple heads which are the same boring color, dark on the edge and a lighter plane to suggest a face.
The sculpture is an eyesore. I would say that both works are indeed out of sight and hopefully, will be place out of sight.
Posted by pleasanton squatter, a resident of another community, on Aug 14, 2012 at 8:59 am
Or, 'native, we could go back to a time when public floggings were conducted in the town square. Not exactly artistic, but I think you'd find it entertaining, nonetheless. I'm sure there's several posters on the PW that would be happy to have you volunteer.