Monday, November 14, 2011

Bizarre art

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The topic for this week is bizarre art. A recent news item relating to bizarre art was released, and this got me thinking about the way people react to art, in particular art that uses non-traditional media to communicate.

An article/vlog was put out by Yahoo! News. This video/article describes what the author has determined to be the top 5 most bizarre public art displays in the United States. Number one on the list was Crown Fountain in Chicago, Illinois. I am very familiar with this sculpture, and have seen it in person many times. Perhaps this familiarity has shaded my perceptions a bit, but I was very surprised to see this on the list.

If you have never seen this sculpture/fountain, it is a series of changing LED faces, eyes, and lips, enlarged and displayed on two large scale columns. Water cascades down the edges of these monoliths, and occasionally spray will emit from one of the faces lips. This sculpture is always a hit with tourists. The levels of interactivity draw people in and it is a particular favorite in the summer, when viewers can play in the water.

The other items on the list also offer some level of interactivity beyond the visual, and it seems to me that the criteria used to evaluate 'bizarre art' used by this author centered on these aspects. Art is meant to be an experience that surprises the senses. Most often that jolt takes the form of the visual, but I do not believe it has to be visually exclusive. Any form of communication that gives the user pause to think about what he/she is experiencing can be a delightful and eye-opening event. Experiences such as these are not easily forgotten, and I think they help foster knowledge about what can and cannot be done.

I enjoyed reading the list of bizarre art, but I think there are other works of art that could be considered that were not listed in this article. What bizarre art have you seen and/or experienced?