Saturday, June 14, 2008

Public Art - St. Augustine

Street artists in Detroit

The City of St. Augustine has spent a considerable amount of taxpayer monies trying to eliminate street artist/vendors from the public spaces of the nations oldest city. Their alternative plans and insistence that we are "performers" indicates that both sides are miles apart.

"Mall Art" seems to be the rule in the galleries here in St. Augustine. "Dr Seuss" reproductions recolored in shades even Mr. Geisel would never blend will be sold next to the Cathedral. Check out the prices. 2000 dollars for a reconfigured and recolored copy of one of his originals.

A recent donation to the city of a Frederick Hart sculpture is appreciated ......BUT....... it is not to every one's taste. Losing the national competition,the outspoken Mr. Hart blasted Maya Lin's 1983 creation of the Viet Nam memorial wall " Maya Lin's design is elitist and mine is populist. People say you can bring what you want to Lin's memorial. But I call that brown bag aesthetics. I mean you better bring something, because there ain't nothing being served." Hart, the poor sport finally got his way and his traditional bronze of three soldiers was erected across the yard from the official monument. Time has shown us that Americans voted with their hearts and minds and most feel that Maya Lin's wall is one of this country's most powerful monuments.

The generous donor (100 thousand dollars) of Hart's sculpture fragment is a recent cancer survivor and this sculpture (purchased from the owner /dealer of the new Dr. Seuss Gallery and four others in St. Aug including The Thomas Kinkaid picture shop)) gave her comfort. At the recent City Commission meeting , it was interesting watching the sales technique of the gallery owner's son. I felt transported right into their viewing room (aka closing room). This kid would probably make a middling' time share salesman. Personally we think that the sculpture (see above) looks like a nude, hair gelled, Beethoven, in the midst of slipping on a banana peel while looking accusingly at us. It tells us......"watch your step, both in and out of the shower."That's my opinion lo, I'm but a dog. Mr. Cutter ,(Kinkaid dealer),i nstead of ordering new prints every March from the most popular booths art Art Expo in N.Y.C. try to get some of these.


  1. Anonymous15 June, 2008

    the dogs playing poker!

    Yes, it seems that the City Commissions taste is truly ...

    As 'rough & tumble' as the streets of Detroit may be...
    at least they are 'artist friendly'!!

  2. Karl,

    Where is this monstrosity of a sculpture located?

    -A. Malik

  3. Anonymous16 June, 2008

    Mr. Hart's bas reliefs over the Cathedral doors are breathtaking.The fragment recasting is out of context with little meaning. The work as a whole is a Christian artwork that would not be appropriate in a civic building

  4. Anonymous22 June, 2008

    Any city that protects the business of a Thomas Kincaid gallery has no fricking idea of what art actually is. How do you expect them to make intelligent decisions when they have no taste at all? Kincaid may be rich, but he's awful. I can't even look at his stuff without getting diabetes.

  5. Sounds like all the prior comments are coming from "NO talent, Frustrated wannabees".

  6. Wannabe what? We are a happy bunch doing what we love, talented or not.

    Once in awhile,we throw back a few of the many stones that have been cast at us.

    I had met Frederick Hart and heard his comments on other artists.I'll not speak ill of the dead so that's all I'll sayo ther than that he was immensely talented.

  7. Here we go,
    Mall art is a term most use without really doing any research, it is like calling a rotty a child killing beast, even though you really don’t know the dog itself as an individual animal. It is true there are a few artists in our lovely town that will sell in any venue that may arise i.e. Ace Hardware ect... However to my knowledge all the artists that are carried in the Cutter galleries are featured only in Fine Art Galleries and are represented by some of the best publishers in the world and cannot be found just anywhere. Also most of the work is originals, you will always find a few prints because not everyone can afford an original from some of our times more popular artists I have prints and to me they still evoke the same feelings every day when I admire them in my home as an original would do, I would love to have only original works but....also there is a difference when an artist’s makes a print off of his inkjet at home or when he pays a publisher to print one on a iris or similar printing system, not to mention serigraphs, lithographs, etchings, block prints ect... as technology advances so can the artists and why not? Also I know Hart and Lin did not see eye to eye I have never heard this quote you have listed and am wondering if it is reliable, I do believe it was Lin that accused Hart of casting his bronze moulds straight from the soldiers themselves because she couldn’t believe the detail and likeness. Also I believe it was the majority of the veterans that raised a stink about Maya Lin's wall calling it one giant tombstone having no human face; it was the government that approached Hart to create the Three Soldiers to add a Human face to the wall to appease the angered veterans. And more still.... Miss Jenrette is not a cancer survivor she has some form of inoperable cancer so eventually it will take her from us, and the fact that she is willing to spend her money to share something that means so much to her with the rest of us, would it not be a better world if everyone was willing to spend their hard earned money in an attempt to bringing just a bit of joy to some other person besides themselves? Ok Dr. Seuss - who doesn’t love Dr Seuss? I believe it is his widow that runs the Art of Dr. Seuss program, good enough for me, if you don’t like it don’t buy it. I think every single American has at some time enjoyed the work of Dr. Seuss. Kinkade- yes you can buy poster, coasters, and even Kinkade toasters but the man has changed the art world and art market forever people that would never would have bought art enjoy collecting Kinkades and then some branch out and begin to collect other artists, even local artists. how many rednecks do you think would buy a miro or a dali? but.... now everyone has an opportunity to collect art in some form or another that appeals to them and what’s wrong with that, not everyone is going to love your art, my art, or the art that is in the galleries here in St. Augustine, but that’s ok because that what art is all about, we fall in love with something that moves us and if we can attain it to hang on our walls does it not make the day a little brighter?

  8. Thank you for your comments. You make some very good points.

    Mr. Hart's quote comes from an interview in Michael Kammen's book, Visual Shock: A History of Art Controversies in American Culture

    We would crtainly not agree that "Thomas Kinkaid has changed the art world and the art market forever"