Thu, 18 June 2009
James Howard Kunstler discusses public art in our cities and towns. Modern public art often lacks artistry and is an ironic representation of our 21st century junk empire. But Kunstler says we don't need any more irony. We need a dignified public realm. Instead of engaging amateurs and children to splash paint on the blank walls of publicly facing buildings, we need to stop creating blank walls in the first place. Even the skilled work of professional muralists often results in little more than a neurotic attempt to give our deactivated streets the appearance of life, when the real problem is that our streets are dead. Kunstler relates these issues to Potemkin villages, trips to Disneyland and do-it-yourself home improvement kits.