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Public sculptures dissed by LAPD chief win award

June 24, 2010 | 12:20 pm

Sheltonsculpts Remember those bronze sculptures for the new LAPD headquarters in downtown Los Angeles that outgoing Police Chief William J. Bratton publicly dissed as looking like "cow splat" when they were unveiled last October?

Today the Washington, D.C., nonprofit arts lobby Americans for the Arts cited the Peter Shelton ensemble as among the 40 best public artworks commissioned in the U.S. and Canada in 2009. More than 300 projects had been submitted for the award.

In addition to "sixbeaststwomonkeys," a set of eight monumental abstractions of animal forms arrayed on pedestals along Spring Street, a second Shelton sculpture also made the list. A pair of bronzes titled "thinmanlittlebird" flank the front steps of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library. Projects were recognized in 29 cities in 15 states.

-- Christopher Knight


Above: Shelton's sculpture "sixbeaststwomonkeys" alongside the LAPD headquarters building. Credit: Gary Friedman/Los Angeles Times.

Comments () | Archives (15)

I would like to know Charley's take on our beloved sculptures. Bratton, thank goodness went onto security after his stint in LA, not curator at an art gallery.

I have to wonder if the controversy helped him win. There is that Republican vs. Piss Christ divide that is exacerbated by both sides. If the art world can’t find a way to meet in the middle it will keep re-enforcing the war of culture, inviting retaliation by the right just like congress and the media. We need to support art that is friendly to both sides.

Does this award mean that the 'art' wasted less of the taxpayer's money?

Neither side wants peace, better to rule their own tiny and myopic domains with no responsibility or commitment, words never heard in the halls of art academia, or Fox "news:.

Looks better with trees, but then like cheese, they can cover the worst of culinary and creative sins.


And pray tell, what was the name of the award and who issued it? A bunch of fellow whacked out artists? This sculpture looks like piles of turds! Where's the nearest toilet?


I detest the idea of creating art that appeals to any "side", least of all the right.

It's not about your feelings Christopher, think past yourself to the big picture. If this is a pubic area it needs to appeal to a broad spectrum to be fair to the public. If people continue to insist on doing work that connects to a small minority of smart artists and alienates the rest of the world, funding will end for the NEA and art will be cut even more (if not altogether) from schools. There has got to be a middle ground. If the big grants went from Piss Christ to Christ and everything in between, it might show congress that we can all get along.

Relevance outside of anemic academia is what is needed. That of passion, energy, and intelligence, of mind, body and soul. Not smart and witty, for a small inbred crowd. Art used to do this. It ALWAYS did, but also has its periods of decadence and popular ones who feed the wealthy folks egos. Some things never change, but the complete disconnect has not happened since the age of the Salon, and that Bastille's destruction by the post impressionists. The edifice has been rebuilt.

Save nuestro pueblo/Watts towers, tear down the Ivories.

Excellent PUBLIC art should appeal to the general public, and not just to a handful of aficionados who happen to like that sort of thing. In my opinion the cow splats (easier to remember that than their real name) are neither beautiful enough, nor interesting enough to meet that standard. Excellent public art in that particular location would also have some bearing on law, police, crime, or civic order. I see these pieces as pointless piles of rounded, hollow metal

A police chief as art critic. Rich. I suppose his kid could have done better. What a maroon.

My not so humble position is that art should never ever meet middle ground, lest it strive to be mediocre.

The controversy about these engaging works is that those who criticize such have no idea what art is, or how to see it. I think Christ Piss is brilliant. It challenges me about the worship of false idols or manmade logos about what we perceive the Jesus to be, or religion to be, for that matter. It also illustrates how religion and dogma itself pisses on the exact message of the Jesus being through its body politic and double standard dogma. At least that's how I see it.

It also pissed off a lot of people, which I find delightful and effective.

Art isn't always about making pretty or happy that matches the couch and drapes. It is a language unto itself. A journey, and exploration as individual as the artist or the movement. It is up to us to engage it and educate ourselves about what these people are saying, regardless of whether or not it appeals to our personal aesthetics. Art does not have to be representational.

It is so tragic to this society that we continue to cut funding for individual artists, arts education in public schools and so on...

well now, those are quite .... bronze .... and scultural - yes, that's it - bronze and scultural

william wray: "If this is a pubic area it needs to appeal to a broad spectrum to be fair to the public...."

A pubic area's likelihood of appealing to a broad spectrum of Californians is even slimmer than that of a work of art, I fear.

Posted by: grandma cranky pants

It is so tragic to this society that we continue to cut funding for individual artists, arts education in public schools and so on...

Because they don't understand art like you do. If art is only done for you, funding is dead... unless you're going to pay for it.

If it takes a piss Christ to thin about dogma nad religious indoctrinations, then you are a typical artiste, witty and clever, but far from intelligent. That take knowledge and study, knowing history, science, and yes theology of different religions and their very basis, what they share, and why it iS a human necessity.

The left and artistes abandoning the only concept worth discussing, god and its meaning, has left it to the right wing to degrade it into shallow graven worship. Art "questions" are simplistic and irrelevant, academic games, with no bearing on real life. Art msut again adress the BIG questions,
who are we/ Where are we going/ Where do we come from/ What is lifes purpose/ As gauguin and all true artists have always asked. no more of course, god is abandoned, we are jsut far too clever for such mediocre concepts. Riiiiight.
And so we get cow splats, and effette and empty dogmas of the left. unwilling and unable to contribute to our human cultures evolution, we are far from the end, or if we are, truly God help us.

Save teh Watts Towers, tear down teh Ivories.


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