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What should the city do to keep our downtown artwork safe?

Asked at Hastings, 1900 W. 23rd St. on January 21, 2005

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Photo of Ian McMullen

“If they are going to display something outside 24 hours a day, there is really nothing they can do. They would either have to put up a camera or move them indoors.”

Photo of Dan Harber

“They should put up artwork that is worthwhile to begin with, something that people take seriously. I’ve always questioned their taste in sculptures.”

Photo of Jean Brooks

“Maybe they need to be in a place that is locked up. I realize that they wouldn’t be available to everyone all the time, but at least they would be safe. Maybe they just need more officers patrolling downtown.”

Photo of Kris Graves

“They are doing all that they should have to do. People should have more appreciation for the art.”


Rob Curley 12 years, 12 months ago

There is a second -- more politically charged -- On The Street today. It is located here:

lunacydetector 12 years, 12 months ago

they need to put up good artwork. the art on display is tasteless, and most is flat out ugly.

the artwork does make me think when i look at it. it makes me think how terrible it looks.

mrcairo 12 years, 12 months ago

I thing the art works are groovy baby groovy.

It's different for sure. And contrary to popular belief it's OK to be different. Really, it is. I'm different.

Groovy stuff gets taken because it's groovy. If it wasn't groovy people wouldn't lift it right?

The commision is doing groovy things, let the groove keep on grooving.

Did I use groovy in every possible way? What's the past-tense of groove? Grooved?

ive_got_my_ascot_n_my_dickie 12 years, 12 months ago

I like the little green men; they're just hanging out together, doing their thing. If it was up to some people, the city would install cheesy Precious Moments statues or Thomas Kincade murals. That's the kind of crap that bothers me. I'm also bothered by the Ann Geddes photos where babies are dressed up like peapods, strawberries, etc. The sculptures we have in Lawrence may not be pleasing to everyone, but they are unique and original. There's no reason to vandalize someone else's work.

HighScore 12 years, 12 months ago

I don't think that there is any one thing that the city can do to completely protect the public sculptures displayed on Mass Street. I really think that it comes down to the selection of the art that is displayed. I am not neccessarilly talking about a style or whether or not everyone "likes" the work. I am referring more directly to the physical characteristics of the work.

The work "Polywiggle" was a unbalanced peice, a kind of hap-hazard alignment of elements. I thought that it was very unique and I enjoyed it, but at the same time when it was first introduced I got the feeling that it would not stand the test of time.

If these sculptures are going to be displayed outdoors in a college town on a main street where there are 20+ bars within a half mile radius, the city needs to expect that there is going to be a certain amount of abuse that these sculptures are going to take. These sculptures need to be created with this in mind. It is obvious that works like "reflections of self" and "ploywiggle" were not. I would like to think that everyone would respect the public sculpture and appreciate it, but I am afraid that this is not always the case.

donsalsbury 12 years, 12 months ago

I agree much of the artwork is ugly, but I can think of a few exceptions.

First, all the Jayhawks on Parade! I know that was a special deal, but I enjoyed them immensely and still like it when I see them around town.

Second, the aluminum triangles and diamonds that were welded together and previously occupied the spot in front of the Bank of Many Names. People disrespected that sculpture as well, continually pushing on it until it broke and had to be repaired. That was actually pretty, although still made of scrap metal.

The 'thing' in front of the Arts Center that looks like it was made in a Bugs Bunny cartoon. It looks like someone fired a big cannonball through a large steel door. Very dramatic! I doubt anyone will try to cart that away, but I bet its scrap metal value is as enormous as the sculpture is. Hopefully people will leave it and everything else alone.

Unfortunately for our citizens' eyes, there aren't a whole lot of options for temporary art installations of the appropriate dimensions that are able to be made of anything but welded scrap metal. Stone? More vulnerable to vandalism. Cast metal? That would be nice, but they're often less aesthetically pleasing than what we have now. (like that breaching, bleeding whale in front of the courthouse--is it still there??)

For crying out loud, people, if it's not yours, leave it the heck alone! If you leave the crappy ones alone, we might be trusted with decent art downtown!!

John Davies 12 years, 12 months ago

Obviously the Bush Administration's Homeland Security Agency should take a hard look at this!

Carmenilla 12 years, 12 months ago

I don't know what I hated more.....The Jayhawks on Parade or some of the "art" downtown. I like somewhat classical sculpture like Henry Moore or Rodin. Not that we can afford anything like that but it seems the tendency to put up "modern-looking" abstract art is an affront to those who find beauty in classicism. I would love to see more stone sculptures (like the one at Burcham Park) or even a bronze depiction of a Lawrence historical figure. But the reality is that people get drunk downtown and act like fools, whether the art is any good or not. So maybe we don't deserve the good stuff. I've seen people do some pretty inappropriate things to the little green men (when it was in front of Teller's) and I personally think its a funny and charming piece but not exactly my taste. So what can we do? Maybe by displaying art that has some resonance to it rather than finding the weirdest and wackiest stuff around would help. But probably not since the real issue is that most people have no respect for personal or private property anyway.

pike 12 years, 12 months ago

I think we should have more art work that is for the fun of it. Work that the artist isn't going to care if it is taken. Work that people can touch. Every one should make a work of art and just leave it on a corner and see how long it stays. FUN ART

donsalsbury 12 years, 12 months ago

Pike, not a bad idea, but you realize it'd just be a huge free-for-all if the public were aware of the intention.

Besides, maybe that's what they're doing already! Putting out art they don't mind getting stolen...

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