Public Art Alert

I’ve been riding past this for weeks to and from work, waiting for a submission. Skink (aka the Cambridge Stink) comes through with the goods. Another laser cut piece?  Really? That it’s neither good nor bad is its worst aspect. Fortunately Skink also goggled or woogled some Ai WeiWei for the true story. (Although it’s a little hard to grasp at times, all you need to know is public art isn’t art. And if it is, it’s bad. And not art.) Mt Lawley Station. Why does Mt Lawley Station get this, and Maylands Station gets a view of Mad Kuntz and The Penn?

Most public art is an embellishment of popular and mediocre sentiments, the approval of a safe and stable state of mind, and an abuse perpetrated by the value system and the aesthetics of the ruling class. Interesting artworks effectively disturb tradition, this popular and vulgar aesthetic, and the prevailing social ideology. An artwork unable to make people feel uncomfortable or to feel different is not one worth creating.

The ‘public’ in public art actually refers to a personal space. It does not contain an artistic value statement. It does not serve the public. It was not created for the public. It could be targeted at the public, but it could also completely ignore the existence of a public. Here, art has simply made effective use of a public environment. It does not have an obligation to beautify or adorn.

 The only difference between public art and other art is that public art is placed in a non-private space. This makes you unable to do certain private things while around the artwork, but at night, when no one’s around, you can still piss on it.

Ai Weiwei

About AHC McDonald

Comedian, artist, photographer and critic. From 2007 to 2017 ran the culture and satire site The Worst of Perth
This entry was posted in worst art, worst public art, worst sculpture and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

98 Responses to Public Art Alert

  1. NF#1 says:

    The people-with-briefcases motif isn’t even slightly tiresome either.


  2. skink says:

    googled it? some of us read books you know
    not the best translation, I concede


  3. cowpat says:

    i like that suit man is about to jump in front of the train


  4. billoslatter says:

    “the approval of a safe and stable state of mind,” Dunno about that , all I see is an Occupational Health and Safety disaster, completely inapporpiates, with some poor FIFO worker impaled with a metal arm stuck up his arse.


  5. skink says:

    ‘Why does Mt Lawley Station get this?’

    my thoughts exactly, especially since they have moved on to beautify Meltham station, and I’ll bet that doesn’t get any superfluous adornment.


    • Cue Bento telling us that Mt Lawley Station is actually in Bayswater.


    • “Renowned Perth artist, designer and sculptor Gordon Mitchell is creating some public
      artwork for Mt Lawley and Meltham.
      Talking about Mt Lawley, Gordon said he enjoyed designing a work that will give the
      station a special identity connecting people in a light-hearted and uplifting way.
      “The sculpture aims to enrich the experiences of passengers and create a talking
      point for them on the platform and in the train,” he said.”


      • rottobloggo says:

        With buttocks in my face as I tried to mark my students’ stories, endless sniffing from people who didn’t bring any tissues (not that they would have room to blow their noses anyway), interminable loud announcements the train wasn’t going further than Shenton Park, and then a short and mad transit security guard telling each passenger in a lod voice the train was going no further than Shenton Park, my experience was sufficiently enriched this morning without public art.


    • Cameron says:

      Beautify Meltham? Have you seen it lately. The entire thing is grey, and is covered in moths.


  6. Martyn says:

    Warrrgh, not Meltham too! According to the guys in dayglo the works at Meltham are to bring the lower ramp into accordance with ISO09919911111009000011110001, or whatever benighted standard it is which exists to haul public ramps into accordance with the capabilities of electric wheelchairs.

    I’d hoped to escape the Art.


  7. Martyn says:

    Also, nice to see that the so-innovative reverse-pitch design which has worked so wonderfully well at Claisebrook for the past few winters is being perpetuated. It’s probably vibrant, right?


  8. Bartender's Skills with a Manhatten says:

    This does not look like the sort of thing one would want on a crowded platform. Or anywhere else, but particularly on a crowded platform.

    It’s still a step up from the 4-story zipless fuck they have installed at St. Pancras in London, also home of the “poet John Betjeman stares open-mouthed at the shed” abomination.


  9. Rolly says:

    Even poor blind Freddy can see that.
    He didn’t need his non functioning eyes any more, anyway.
    Gord help any visually impaired wheelchair driver.

    I was going to say “What on earth were they thinking?”; but it is quite evident that no-one actually was.


  10. skink says:

    does anyone carry a briefcase these days? really? and do they swing them around at head height?

    where are the one-shoulder messenger bags? where are the ipad man-bags?

    she’s got flared pants, for the love of mercy


    • Bartender's Skills with a Manhatten says:

      I should say that no one on a platform that size should be as frantic to catch a train as the middle figure appears to be.

      If they had installed it half a mile away in a parking lot, that I could see.


    • Martyn says:

      There should be a name for this pose, should there not? Or this stride, rather. You know, something pretentious, like a font name. Someone come up with a funny one, I’m no good.


  11. valerie woodruffe in an empire line dress says:

    A work of “art” executed by a misogynist, there is not a skirt or dress in sight


  12. PeteF says:

    I note the ubiquitous cocos in the centre right.


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  15. Scanners says:

    The flatness of the “sculptures” (are they sculptures or cut outs?) is a representation of the perfect shape for a passenger travelling on the Midland Line at peak hour.


  16. orbea says:

    Got the boarding and patronage stats for Mt Lawley’s teeming Transit Oriented Development hub, vibrancy beacon, activity centre, public art showcase, complete with wheelchair suicide ramps. Yeah go nanna, wheeee
    Average daily 327
    Average weekday 383
    Average weekend 205


    Pisses on Success Hill and West Midland (Fuck Woodbridge)

    Rottobloggo your stats for Guildford are 421, 499, 251. You’re next


    • How are these trains full with these piddling numbers?


      • Martyn says:

        Chrissake. Really? The crush at Maylands and Bassendean and other hipper more happening stations presumably makes up the difference…?

        Doesn’t seem like it could be enough, though. The natural state of trains just seems to be ‘crammed’. Is it a rent-a-crowd?


    • Martyn says:

      Orbea – how’s Meltham doing, stat-wise? I notice we didn’t get the threatened public art, as yet. Other works ongoing but they seem to have wrapped up the platform.

      Bullet dodged, or are they going for the old false sense of security?


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  19. Martyn says:

    I see the long-threatened Meltham yarrt has finally made its appearance. Tiled (?) murals of fish, seemingly swimming through forests. I can’t summon the energy to form an opinion on it. Just gimme the trees back, please.


    • vegan says:

      i saw it yesterday. it reminded me of the morley dolphins.

      exactly what you would expect.

      the trees, and please, more than just one paint colour.


      • Same dude as Lawley briefcases?


        • Martyn says:

          It’s very unlike, and not inspiring enough to motivate me to do a search, so…maybe?

          Agree with vegan – the repairs to the building and repaving are welcome, but does it have to be all over dove grey? Three colours were tested prior to painting; a main grey and two shades of grey trim. I dunno, there might actually be some variation in there somewhere but it doesn’t exactly jump out at you if so. Too hard basket?

          On the other hand the murals/plaques are in bright greens and whites and DO jump out at you. They occupy the niches where windows have been bricked up and there’s a lot of them.

          Overall effect is a Lego building.


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