Originally, this was a short post from Paul. However, the short comment I wanted to add to it turned rather long, so I made it my own post. Paul originally wrote:
Here are some strange statues from around the world. A few are actually clever and/or cool; others portray human beings in odd or grotesque ways.
The link is now to a different page. Apparently, the post was so popular that they’ve now moved it to its very own web site.
Many of the sculptures are so bizarre as to be rationally incomprehensible, e.g. the space cow and the square head. Most are recognizable human figures deliberately made grotesque, primitive, and deformed, as is characteristic of the lower forms of naturalism. Interestingly, a few of the bizarre statues do show some serious talent. The running knot of legs (no longer available, apparently), for example, really seems to be in motion.
The few better statues are a higher form of naturalism: they are refreshingly ordinary-looking people well-blended into their surroundings, as in the elegant woman on the bench and the photographer peering around the building. They are so realistic that the viewer often does a double-take in recognizing the sculpture as such. The more imaginative ones are even funny, as in manhole prankster. These kind of double-take statues seem more common these days; I expect that people like them far better than the alternatives offered. However, it goes without saying that the purpose of art is not the surprise of realizing “Oh, that’s a statue!”
The voluminous comments on the now-defunct page were very revealing of people’s views of art today. Here are a few that stood out to me. (Each paragraph is a new comment.)
What a collection! All sorts of adjectives could apply, in my opinion: beautiful, moving, weird, ugly, shocking, obscene, hugely imaginative, humorous, thought-provoking, depressing, and so on. It all depends on one’s point of view. This collection is a good illustration of the fact that beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.
Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder..and to criticize any type of art form, well, just shows your narrow mindedness. Just say you don’t understand and be done with it! Human sexuality, and all it entails, is a beautiful and wonderful thing. Maybe if people were more open minded & less self centered, the world would be a better place to live in.
Two observations: Beauty (and/or art) is in the eye of the beholder, and judge not lest you be judged (yes, you can be judged by your judgement). All artists make an emotional or intellectual statement through their medium, so only the artists know if they have made that statement and thus made art. Only the art dealer knows whether he or she thinks it will sell or not. Only the buyer knows if he or she likes the work enough to pay out money for it. Or not. Only you know whether you like it or not. It’s dull, it’s disgusting, it’s not “highbrow,” it’s juvenile. It’s fun, it’s fascinating, it’s provocative, it’s art. Who cares?
Utterly and gloriously wonderful ! The art stimulated an amazing range of emotional spectrums from me …from a full throated laugh of pleasure to a gasp of surprise and a thousand other feelings ! Some of the comments here surprised me…some people seem personally affronted as if the artist has set out to provoke them specifically .Art does affect each viewer in a very personal way BUT the important thing to remember is that other people will respond completely differently to you and that is is the beautiful and incredible experience of viewing ANY art(from the simple sketch a child may draw with it’s toe in the sand to the traditional oil by a master) ! Some people also seem to take the unusual view that *art* must be both beautiful and pleasing…it may be both of these and more …and it may not. Sometimes art may shock and startle but this isn’t a bad thing (in my opinion) .I personally will look at this site often and feel inspired and amazed .(p.s I would love to add some photoghraphs of some incredible statues if anyone can provide the email address in order to submit them)
I love “public art”. It is an emotional high for me. The artist feels inspired and makes a statement. We either like it or not, but anyhow, we have to admire and respect talent, magnificent or not. We need this kind of exposure. It opens our minds, develop new ideas and help us understand diversity better. Thanks for this collection. It gives us a chance to “better explore the world.”
after struggling with the many definitions of art put forward, the only one that seems to function in all situations for me is that art is art when the artist declares it to be so. We might disagree, but our disagreement is one step removed from creation… Course I’ve seen things that seem artistic that the creator didn’t think were, but still think the creator’s definition trumps my own:)
Excellent collection. Every piece thought provoking and able to engender some sort of gut reaction. We all need more whimsy in our lives, not to mention more public displays of oversized genitalia.
From the sublime to the ridiculous…..it’s all there. Some great, some ordinary even pedestrian, but all art. Maybe a little more discrimination in the choice of work. Soooo many images, many kinda repetitious, but let’s face it, its certainly ALL art. It gets your brain up and running after all. Bravo for undertaking so ambitious and brave a project.
Some are funny, some are gross, some show great talent, some are abstract, some are novel, some are unique, some are artistic, some are not, some show greatness, some are shallow, some are ideal, some are stupid, some are of humans, some are of animals. But all are of humanity.
Just a wonderful collection! Inspiring, frightening and stimulating. Some fine work from Australia, but disappointed you missed the leaping sheep from the Melbourne Performing Arts Centre. Just remember, Ginger and other nay-sayers that art is MEANT to confront us! Take a good hard look at the world around you-it’s much uglier than the sex organs of human beings
It is a shame that your shallow perception only permits you to see things such as “A man on an upside down horse.” That your prudish upbringing has stunted your abilities to perceive beyond the simple surface reaction. If you are unable, or unwilling, to seek the artistic in what may initially appear to be un-artful to you, as it may not fit in with your predefined notions of what art is, then perhaps you are best to stick to soap operas and american tv.
Someday, I’ll no longer be amazed by how quickly the staunch defenders of grotesque and bizarre modern art resort to belligerent and nasty insults. The practice does fit their souls… like a damn ugly glove over a monstrousouly defective hand.