We all love public art, not just because we can enjoy it without going to a museum, but mostly because it is so powerful in shaping the fabric of urban space, and has the power to become a local landmark – sometimes even a global one. Public art ends up in travel guides and tourists’ checklists. It also has the power to represent the culture or history of a place, or to even define it.
Sculptures and installations can be interesting pieces that play a role in art movements. They can be very meaningful or symbolic of traditions. Some of them become icons. People have strong relationships with the art of their respective cities, they can love it or totally hate it.
Either way, no one can deny that not all public art is stylish. That’s why I made this list of some art installations I find very cool. I have already visited some of these, and others – I’d love to visit.
Love started as a pop-art graphic in the ’60s, created for MoMA’s (Museum of Modern Art) Christmas card, and became hugely popular after it was replicated into United States postal service stamps.
The Love sculptures are now installed in many cities all over the globe, including New York, Vegas, Tokyo, Taipei, Singapore, Vancouver.Plus: it has even crossed language borders and has been made into Spanish with the words ‘Amor’ in Milan, and in Hebrew installed in Israel.Now that’s what we call true love!
Forever Marilyn is a 26-feet tall giant statue of Marilyn Monroe, inspired by her memorable scene from the movie ‘The Seven Year Itch’.The statue was first unveiled in 2011 at Pioneer Court, Chicago, where I had the pleasure of seeing it.
But what was loved by the tourists was so unpopular with the locals, and was vandalized thrice with paint and graffiti, that it was finally shifted to Palm Springs, California in 2012. The statue has now found home in New Jersey.
Marilyn in the statue wears her famous white halter dress, which I featured in my article The Most Iconic White Dresses in Hollywood Movies. It may have been controversial, but is nonetheless iconic, just like her fashion. And herself.
Two-storey tall fibreglass and steel flower sculptures titled ‘The Roses’ were installed on Park Avenue in January 2011. Brilliantly executed, the ‘Roses’ brightened up the snowed-in city street. The roses were in shades of pinks and reds, all different shapes, complete with stems, bees and all. Plus, petals were ‘strewn’ about the streets, too!They served as reminders for the locals that spring will arrive sooner or later. I love the idea. So simple, yet so elegant. These are flowers that may not be fragrant, but they don’t die in the snow either.
Umbrellas in Águeda
One of the reasons fashion and art often go hand in hand is color. Color plays an important role in both, and can make or break its aesthetic. That’s why this umbrella installation in Águeda, Portugal is not only loved by the locals, but also attracts many international tourists. They provide shade in the hot streets, while casting bright reflections on passers beneath.
And check out how they look like they’re just magically floating in the sky, brilliant charms of color.
Bubbles – Tall Tree and the Eye
I was not new to Anish Kapoor’s work when I first got a chance to view it in its glory at Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao that had an exhibition of miniature replicas of his popular work. Anish Kapoor of Cloud Gate fame that is lovingly known as the Bean by Chicago locals, is one of the most money-making installation designers. But what’s more – his work is loved immensely by the people.
This interesting installation is made of stainless steel spheres that are stuck on top of one another, rising like champagne bubbles, stacked in such a delicate-looking composition that we are amazed how it just stands like that.
That’s just some of the public art I love. If you liked it, lemme know below because I plan to write about more art in the future, and your thoughts matter to me! Also, lemme know which pieces of public art you find the most stylish. Until then, ta!! 🙂
Shilpa Ahuja a designer and entrepreneur. She is the editor-in-chief of ShilpaAhuja.com, which she founded with the goal of inspiring confidence in the modern working woman through fashion.
Fashion has traditionally been for the rich, white, thin woman. That’s how it evolved over centuries and that’s how it’s been represented in fashion media. But Shilpa believes that with the changing role of women in the society, fashion has changed, too. She believes that fashion is for everyone, regardless of their age, gender, color, body type and background. So she translates runway fashion into easy style advice that one can incorporate into their daily lives.
Shilpa’s work has been published in the University of Fashion blog and Jet Airways magazine. She is also an artist, illustrator and cartoonist. She is also the creator of Audrey O., a comic series that represents the lifestyle of millennial women. She enjoys creative writing and world travel. Her art has been exhibited at Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Aroma Hotel, Chandigarh and been published in Chandigarh Times.
Originally from Chandigarh, Shilpa also has a professional degree in architecture and has worked in interior project management. She is also the author of the book “Designing a Chinese Cultural Center in India”. Shilpa has a Masters in Design Studies degree from Harvard University. For feedback and questions, please email [email protected]