Last month we talked about Luis Jimenez's controversial BLUE MUSTANG sculpture at Denver International Airport. Our reader poll was split right down the middle between the sculpture's supporters and detractors, which just goes to show you how divided opinions can be when it comes to public art. Thanks to all who participated!
This month, we'll talk about a piece of public art that's still in the development stages. If you've been to Denver in the last couple years, you've no doubt seen Lawrence Argent's I SEE WHAT YOU MEAN, a forty-foot-tall blue bear peering in the windows of the city's convention center. After it was installed, public opinion was mixed about the piece, but now that it's been in place for a couple years, the people of the city seem to have grown to appreciate it.
Argent's latest project is over a new piece he's been commissioned to complete for a new terminal in Sacramento's airport, scheduled to be completed in 2011. The proposed piece is another larger-than-life, brightly colored animal -- this time a bunny leaping toward a vast, granite suitcase. The fifty-foot rabbit, which will appear to be leaping through the walls of the airport towards the baggage claim where a large granite suitcase awaits him, comes with an $800,000 price tag -- a price that has been difficult for residents to stomach in a city that's been hit hard by economic collapse. Many residents in the city have openly wondered why the county is spending so much money for a giant bunny when money is so scarce in the area.
Argent says that the bunny represents, among other things, the leap we all take when we travel, opening ourselves up to the unknown. Airport officials believe Argent's piece will do exactly what public art should do -- get people to think and talk about art, while adding a little whimsy to the airport. Their support, however, hasn't silenced some critics, who believe the money would be better spent hiring more police officers or providing other essential services. Though the money for the project comes from airport fees and not taxpayers, some still believe it should be used to help with a failing economy.
What do you think? Is the red bunny worth the cost to the city? Is the airport the right setting for the piece? Does Sacramento deserve props for their continued focus on the arts, or would the money be better spent elsewhere given the state of the city's economy?
Take part in our poll, and give us your opinion by clicking the "Comment" button below.