Recently they put up a temporary art installation on the South Park Drawbridge here in Seattle. It can only be viewed in its entirety from the water, so I have to admit I haven’t experienced its full impact. I work on this drawbridge once a week, and can only see the back side of the top half of this art most of the time.
The only way I can describe it will probably not do it justice. It’s dozens of aluminum flowers crafted from beer cans, suspended by an enormous yellow net which hangs from our control tower balcony almost all the way down to the water below. I’m not particularly impressed, but that could be because I am treated to the ping, ping, ping of these flowers as the wind bounces them against our railing, and eight hours of that is akin to Chinese water torture.
I’m not willing to write this work off completely because as I said I haven’t had the opportunity to see it as it was intended. But… it’s still beer cans. You know?
Don’t get me wrong. I love public art. I think the world needs more of it. And art always has its critics. This art doesn’t appear to have any political or social commentary associated with it (unless they’re encouraging alternative forms of recycling), and yet it still causes a reaction. Boaters will ask, “What the HELL is that hanging from your bridge?”
Some of the boaters that see it probably like it. They just haven’t spoken up. At least not to me.
I think drawbridges make great venues for art. I’m sorry that they aren’t used more often. But when this ping, ping, ping goes away in October, I won’t be the least bit disappointed.