Shocking Reveal: Art Costs Money

WZTV FOX 17 in Nashville breaks this shocking exposé: city government is spending taxpayer dollars on art! "Those eye-catching structures you see around town come with a hefty price tag, and you could be footing the bill," says news anchor Stacey Case. The FOX News team investigates, and as usual the matter of art being "in the eye of the beholder" is batted about. The debate is fundamentally confused: is it about whether money should be spent on art at all, or whether these particular pieces of art are regrettably a) expensive or b) of poor quality? Jennifer Cole, Director of the Metro Arts Commission, sounds like she's hiring a contractor, not selecting an artist. "I think it's a good use of public money to invest in someone who has a track record of bringing projects like this on time and on budget whom we can check references against," talking about a new public art sculpture by artist Christian Mueller that will cost $750,000 to install at the Nashville Convention Center. 

"Stix", Mueller's piece that won the proposal, is a series of, well, sticks, that will be painted in colors meant to invoke Native American culture and will include LEDs to light it at night. “I designed a piece that occupies almost the entirety of the available space in order to create more volume,” he said. “The result is a large-scale piece characterized by color with unlimited, 360-degree viewing angles, making the journey an exciting visual experience,” says Mueller in an article in The Tennesseean.

Rather than "should money be spent on art?", or, "is this artist's resume impressive?", maybe the questions should be: "Will this piece of art transform the space in an inviting way?" and "Could we have hired a local talent that knows Nashville to create something that really speaks to this place?"