Over Labor Day weekend, Joe and I did a little accessorizing to the front of our house — a lovely new windowbox and a new light. In theory, because we live in a historically designated district, I can’t change much to the front of my house without approval – the color of my door, the color of the shutters, etc. But, all of my neighbors have flowerboxes, we bought a similar flowerbox, and all is uniform and in line with the historical philosophy of the block. My neighbors, obviously, didn’t get to vote on my home improvements, but I’m sure they’re pleased nonetheless.
And, when should we get a vote about someone else’s house, anyway? Well, I’ll tell you when. When the house is “our” house – our City’s house – a city in the midst of a budget crisis, a city that told me I had to take a paycut to keep my job, a city that supposedly can’t pay it’s vendors, etc. — that’s when we should get a vote about what goes into City Hall – because let me tell you — I wouldn’t have vote for this monstrosity. I’m walking to court the other day, walking through City Hall – and what do I see but this giant pink and blue head. WTF? Really – this is what you spent our taxpayer’s money on – this art installation? There’s another head, too – a checkerboard. What’s up with the heads? Who picked this? I’m all for money for the arts, and really, cutting the arts in a time of crisis is bad for moral – but this is where the money went? A big pink head???
Maybe I’m shallow (well, I am shallow – and have gotten shallower with age, apparently) but where is the message in a big pink head? 1801 Vine Street is decked out with Depression Era Art – on one hand, when you’re standing with at the bar of the court with a twelve year old who comes up to your knee cap, and you’re staring up at these hulking figures, laboring at the New Deal projects, it’s all a bit creepy, but I get it – it works for me. What does this big pink head say about our struggling economic times? Put on a pink face?
I know, aside from the Mural Arts Program, Philadelphia is not big on message art, but is known for its iconic art – the Clothespin, the Lightning Bolt, the Love Statue – but really – do we want a new icon that’s a big pink head? Next to the Rocky statue perhaps?