You Call That Public Art?

South Korea's law mandates developers to commission public art as 1% of the total cost of a proposed project. What the law does not specify is the level of taste that comes with it.

Jung-yoon Choi of The Los Angeles Times reports:

"[C]ritics of the urban improvement effort objected, some saying the law had created a monster that over the years generated too much art that many find objectionable. There's the huge straw man that sits, feet dangling, on the ledge of a downtown building; the copper piece that is supposed to look like a group of people but which many say looks like a dirty ashtray; and a mammoth gorilla wearing a backpack scaling a building."

The solution from policymakers in Seoul?

Under the new law, developers now have the option to abdicate the responsibility of installing public art by donating the money to the government who will do the job for them. The assumption here is that the government "will do a better job of choosing artists and works" than the private sector.

Between 1995 and 2008, more than 10,000 artworks worth $546 million have been installed throughout South Korea.

Full Story: Public art rubs Seoul the wrong way

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