Does Public Art need to Change?

I believe that public art is too abstract, strange and uninspiring for the general public.

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I believe that public art is too abstract, strange and uninspiring for the general public.

Public art needs to inspire those who don't enjoy art, it needs to advertise beauty and practicality at the same time, it needs to allow interactivity for children and allow them to interact in some way like climb on it or walk through it.

At the same time it needs to be ‘easy on the eye’ and have a purpose, a reason for existence.

We could replace all abstract intangible sculptures with interactive useful meaningful pieces that inspire the general public to go to an art gallery and admire other creations.

A sculpture needs to stand out from its surroundings, for example a bench serves a purpose, but is boring, some artists make them different and exciting.  Arguably one piece of art can mean many different things to different people but a really good sculpture will project one thing to all viewers.

I realize not everyone feels this way, I have done some research on the subject and I found a website where people share their opinion on the matter.

On this website, someone asked

Should art have a purpose?

And someone (anonymously) said

“For me, art doesn't need a purpose in order to be enjoyed. It would be interesting to know what the artist was thinking when they produced the piece of work, but it is not necessary.”

After some research I have found that only some people share my views and its only on very specific sculptures, I have found many interesting and yet clever sculptures like something that has a purpose like a bench, below there is some images of sculptures that for a bench.

These sculptures have purpose and make sense. Below is some links to websites where other people have shared their opinion on the matter.

Some people said that some art has purpose and some doesn't, they say some art doesn't need a purpose in order to be enjoyed. They said it leaves the mind open to imagine what it could be.

Re:Does art have a purpose?

« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2008, 03:01:04 pm »

just as i send a PM to you on this I see this... oh wells. let me fill it in anyway

1, Art does/can have purpose

2, the point of art can be to entertain, provoke thought, create a mood, express ones self. 

3, I dont think all art should have a purpose and it doesnt always need one either. 

2, most of what was said in q2. 

Re:Does art have a purpose?

« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2008, 08:37:00 am »

- Does art have a purpose?

Yes it does

- What is the point of art?

It has several points:

* It makes you look at things differently

* It makes you think about things

* It's entertaining

* It's to make a statement

* For some artists it's a way to cope or to relax

- Should art have a purpose? Should all have a purpose?

Yes, because people want to know the idea that comes along with the art. We people want reasons for things, we want to know why the piece of art is made and how it is made and what it symbolizes.

- If art does have a purpose, then what purpose?

I think it's the same question as question number 2

This is a comment from the website link above, this shows that not everyone feels the way I do about public sculptures.

“Art has been defined over and over as man’s highest spiritual expression, superior even to religion in that it is the only human activity that does not lead to killing.” So said Jacques Barzun.

I see why this person feels this way, but a philistine may feel completely different, and I think that public art is to inspire those who don't usually enjoy art,and get children to interact and appreciate the art,  because people who do enjoy art will pay for a day at an art gallery.

Public art needs to be obvious, easy to read, not abstract and confusing, because his wont inspire others.

I don't wish to offend anyone, but i would like to leave this thought in your head.

Does public art need to change?

This is a user generated post from our wider Voice community and was not edited by the Voice team. We would love to hear your views too! Sign up for an account and make your Voice heard!


  • Joshua Gould

    On 6 September 2018, 15:13 Joshua Gould Contributor commented:

    A lot of people find so called "modern art" confusing - and in many cases just straight up bad. As an example in my city (Norwich) there was the large statue of the human body that Damien Hurst made, this made a lot of people quite irritated, they were just asking "what's the point" of this!
    The public are difficult to judge, and what works for one community may have a completely different outcome in another.

  • Carol Leach

    On 13 September 2018, 10:23 Carol Leach commented:

    I totally agree with most of this Joshua, but some others work. In Gateshead, when Antony Gormley created The Angel of the North there was a public outcry. Everyone was cross as Gateshead was such an impoverished area and they said that the money should have been spent on something more practical. However 20 years later and this Angel is lauded internationally, and loved by everyone. It was raised on an outcrop overlooking the A1 as you head North as Gormley wanted to welcome these people back to the North. For many Northerners returning home, it's a potent symbol.

  • Abi Rose Leach

    On 13 September 2018, 10:27 Abi Rose Leach commented:

    I agree, but not everyone can capture the imagination like Gormley, unfortunately.

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