Update on yesterday’s post waxing rhapsodic about the respect for public art here in Portland. It’s not a repudiation of that stance, but there are some rectifying observations I should make.
Art isn’t perfect. Writing, music, dance, the same. What we’re told, what we tell others, can and maybe should be subject to a kind of scientific method: if new information comes to light, the thing you said yesterday will be modified in its light.
And looking at the same thing from different perspectives can lead us closer to the truth. Whatever that is.
And so I noticed things aren’t pristine. But public art places itself in the world, exposed. It makes itself vulnerable. It’s open to change, from the elements, if nothing else. I’m left with more questions than answers.
Do the things we make and put into the world belong to us, or to everyone? The people who buy it—is it theirs to do with as they wish, or do they have an obligation as caretaker until whomever they sell it to takes over? If it’s sold as copies, does it belong to anyone at all?
If art is public, is it an object? Or is it a new piece of its environment?