Public Art Shouldn't Be Too..., 2002 by Wick Alexander
When I was asked
to participate in the Adams
Avenue banner project I immediately accepted. I know the community
well and I liked the list of names of the artists also interested.
I envisioned the artist-designed
banners as an antidote to the banality and visual pollution, which
other communities often display. The Super Bowl banners spread
around San Diego were ugly and plentiful.
The idea to have ten artists to
create ten banners was intriguing to me. The big challenge was
to make it art. This is always the big problem in public art.
The debate about public art is an important issue in almost every
From my perspective as an artist,
the demands set by the so-called public make public art, as art,
almost impossible. The moment when the artwork is perceived as
too colorful or too thought provoking or too anything, it will
My ten banners represent actual
reasons why many of my public art proposals have been rejected.
The ten banner slogans were selected from a larger list of rejections,
which could easily have been included in this series. Here are
some of them.
Public art shouldn't be too... generic,
dangerous, religious, personal, dicey, edgy, phallic, sharp, shiny,
black, white, macho, gay, feminist, self-promotional, architectonic,
big, strong, Mexican, didactic, normal, derivative, passionate,
computerized, xenophobic, racist, etc., etc., etc.