Is a Bronze Fonz Public Art? Aaaaay!

<p>A proposed public art piece featuring a bronze statue of the "Happy Days" character Arthur "the Fonz" Fonzarelli has many up in arms about the process creating and approving public art.</p>
March 29, 2008, 1pm PDT | Nate Berg
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"What so often results is art that is trying to be all things to all people, and ends up being nothing to no one-a curiosity that you're left to try to 'explain' to out of town visitors, or, perhaps worse, a permanent part of the "wallpaper" of the cityscape, a fixture so banal as to merit no more mention than a mailbox or a lamp post."

"For every great work of public art, a Picasso in Daley Plaza (which, incidentally, was panned when it was first unveiled), there are countless monstrosities like the huge vertical stack of faux footballs standing outside Camp Randall stadium in Madison, Wisconsin."

"The artist behind this piece may have been trying to convey something, but clearly the Public Art Process degraded the original vision to the point of nonrecognition."

"This summer, a new name will be added to Milwaukee's illustrious roster of statuary: Arthur Fonzarelli, most commonly known as 'the Fonz.'"

"When it was announced that Downtown Milwaukee would soon be home to a privately funded statue honoring the Coolest Person Ever, far cooler than the Bob Newhart statue in Chicago or the Mary Tyler Moore statue in Minneapolis, the local arts community had a fit. They fretted about what the statue would "say," what message it would convey about our city. One prominent local gallery owner, complaining that the Fonz statue would rehash old stereotypes of the city as a beer and brats, Laverne and Shirley, Lenny and Squiggy kind of town, threatened to close his gallery if the statue was approved."

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Published on Wednesday, March 26, 2008 in The Next American City
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