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Has Abstract Art a place in outdoor public areas?


Dorcha

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Sep 16, 2010
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I can't say I'm a fan of abstract art or abstract sculpture. I suppose, really, it depends of how abstract the item is. For instance, there is a thing standing on the Gooses Acre roundabout in Midleton, which gives me a feeling of nausea just looking at it. It is in a bright shiny metal, shaped like a cone, with a flat metal spiral running around it from top to bottom, rather like one of those helter-skelters. Given the name of the place, I would much prefer a statue of a goose-girl and some geese, something pleasant to the eyes.

The Angel of the North in England doesn't look too bad from the photographs I've seen. It appears recognizably human, as do the statues of Cha and Miah, a statue by sculptor Oisin Kelly, officially named "Two Working Men" and meant for the outside of Liberty Hall in Dublin, but which was never placed there due to some dispute, and was rescued from storage to appear outside the County Hall in Cork, on a long term loan.

Another piece of Popular Art that I remember fondly is a life-sized two-dimensional cut-out of a cow with its head out over a hedge which I've noticed on journeys home from matches in Dublin. I think it's in Kilkenny, but I'm open to correction there.

On the gable end of a pub near Holycross in Tipperary is a mural of Cork and Tipperary hurlers in action, a little faded by now with the years, but it still brings a smile to my face as I pass it.

Abstract art/sculpture, on the other hand, seem to have no significance for the ordinary person. I have always felt that if art or sculptor has to be explained to you, then it's not doing it's primary job of communication. It's all very fine saying that a picture/sculptor is open to individual interpretation but when confronted by those things, my mind is just blank.

I feel that the place for abstract art is a museum where fellow enthusiasts can go and talk abstractly about it. I don't think it contributes anything to areas in outdoor public places.
 


Socratus O' Pericles

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Abstract art/sculpture, on the other hand, seem to have no significance for the ordinary person



I'm an ordinary person and I love abstract art.
 

statsman

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The cows are on the M7 Limerick ring road section, and they are funny. Are they representational or abstract would be an interesting question.

Personally I find Gormley's Angel of the North somewhat oppressive in its execution, but his Another Place is much more interesting. Again, are those figures representative or abstract or somewhere in between.

I think the wrong question is being asked. I'd wonder why so much very ordinary public art gets commissioned. The Molly Malone statue on College Green is representative, but ugly as sin. The ball at Naas, Perpetual Motion, is abstract, but I consider it to be one of the best bits of modern public art in the country; it's witty, immediate and apt to the location. We need to invest in good public art, abstract or otherwise, or else just stop doing it entirely.
 

between the bridges

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yes, as long as the abstract has some sociological imagination and it is sympathetic to its surroundings...

 

Radix

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Good post Dorcha, and I must confess this is a thought which strikes me often as I do huge mileage and see all sorts of stuff that professes to be some kind of 'art' around the country.

A lot of the stuff is meaningless rubbish, and the fact that public servants are using public money to pay for it kinda says a lot about the public service itself in this area. It promotes a message of 'anything goes', even nothingness itself.

It is otf times hollow, vacuuous, without meaning, shallow, secular, wasteful, vain, venal and very much of the daft.ie generation, where value and price became divorced in the name of naked greed.

With 'abstract art' we are very much in the territory of naked emperors, we worship before odes to nothingness and think ourselves great.

Eamon Gilmore is one such bit of abstract art, a kind of an emperor in his own mind. Many of his citizens actually are close to poverty, but he is otherwise engaged in a massive battle on an international scale to make sure that the gender agenda is well fed, whilst wee Tommy's tummy rumbles. And he can do this, because we have been tolerating meaningless duplicity for years; where else did 'the scandals' come from? We have been far too tolerant of rubbish in our society, rubbish standards, rubbish representation and rubbish public art too.

Ireland got itself busy during the Mary Robinson/Dick Spring years chucking out babies with the bathwater all in the name of worshiping perfect secularism, and now we are left with abstract mediocrity, as we wear our sackcloth and sit in our ashes wondering where did it all go wrong.

Not impressed!
 

between the bridges

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i like this one (let the dance begin, Strabane)


but don't get the balls on the falls (Rise)

 

Socratus O' Pericles

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None of that proves you're an ordinary person. :)

I like Rachel Joynt's work a lot. That Matt Talbot statue is a public eyesore.

I know , I just cannot find a link to show I'm an ordinary person, I could bring in a note tomorrow from my mammy saying I'm the best boy thst ever pis*ed through mickey -if you like.
 

statsman

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I know , I just cannot find a link to show I'm an ordinary person, I could bring in a note tomorrow from my mammy saying I'm the best boy thst ever pis*ed through mickey -if you like.
No need to go to that length; just having a mammy is enough for me. :)
 

Socratus O' Pericles

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None of that proves you're an ordinary person. :)

I like Rachel Joynt's work a lot. That Matt Talbot statue is a public eyesore.
I hate the ball at Naas thst she did with the husband.
 

FrankSpeaks

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Apr 18, 2008
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4,625
The Gateway Arch in St. Louis could be described as public abstract art and its beautiful. The Spire in Dublin could also be described as abstract and again I like it.

The rusty steel one in Dun Laoghaire leaves me cold.

For some reason I am unable to post pictures!
 

Dadaist

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Mar 30, 2012
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Trinity College



YES

Letterkenny



YES

Roscommon



YES

Strabane



YES

There is good art and there is bad and remember all art is subjective. The Eiffel Tower was considered a disgusting eye sore by many critics when it was first erected.
 

statsman

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Feb 25, 2011
Messages
56,218


YES



YES



YES



YES

There is good art and there is bad and remember all art is subjective. The Eiffel Tower was considered a disgusting eye sore by many critics when it was first erected.
Nice to see someone live up to their username.
 

Spanner Island

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Feb 22, 2011
Messages
24,199
I can't say I'm a fan of abstract art or abstract sculpture. I suppose, really, it depends of how abstract the item is. For instance, there is a thing standing on the Gooses Acre roundabout in Midleton, which gives me a feeling of nausea just looking at it. It is in a bright shiny metal, shaped like a cone, with a flat metal spiral running around it from top to bottom, rather like one of those helter-skelters. Given the name of the place, I would much prefer a statue of a goose-girl and some geese, something pleasant to the eyes.

The Angel of the North in England doesn't look too bad from the photographs I've seen. It appears recognizably human, as do the statues of Cha and Miah, a statue by sculptor Oisin Kelly, officially named "Two Working Men" and meant for the outside of Liberty Hall in Dublin, but which was never placed there due to some dispute, and was rescued from storage to appear outside the County Hall in Cork, on a long term loan.

Another piece of Popular Art that I remember fondly is a life-sized two-dimensional cut-out of a cow with its head out over a hedge which I've noticed on journeys home from matches in Dublin. I think it's in Kilkenny, but I'm open to correction there.

On the gable end of a pub near Holycross in Tipperary is a mural of Cork and Tipperary hurlers in action, a little faded by now with the years, but it still brings a smile to my face as I pass it.

Abstract art/sculpture, on the other hand, seem to have no significance for the ordinary person. I have always felt that if art or sculptor has to be explained to you, then it's not doing it's primary job of communication. It's all very fine saying that a picture/sculptor is open to individual interpretation but when confronted by those things, my mind is just blank.

I feel that the place for abstract art is a museum where fellow enthusiasts can go and talk abstractly about it. I don't think it contributes anything to areas in outdoor public places.
I disagree with you 100%...

The obvious extent of your imaginative limitations shouldn't be imposed on everyone else...

What do you want?

Statues of people in cities? Animals in the countryside? YAWN.... What's the point of that when the real things are all around those places anyway..?

Sounds to me if you got your way we'd be in a country of lowest common denominator public art...
 

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