Public art is a contentious topic. Take the recent example of Damian Hirst’s “Verity”, a 20-metre-tall bronze sculpture of a flayed pregnant woman, erected in the fishing village of Ilfracombe, North Devon (UK). I can see why this brazen lady would divide opinion, and that she might not be to everyone’s taste. But I don’t think that anyone would seriously argue that she is not a work of art – evidently, a lot of effort and thought have gone into creating her.
At the other end of the spectrum, however, there’s the kind of ‘art’work, that’s not just heinously ugly, but which seems (in my admittedly unschooled opinion) to lack any artistic merit whatsoever.
Toledo is, as I never tire to point out, a very beautiful city, brimming with fantastic architecture and artefacts that bear witness to its millennia-spanning history. So, I thought it might be quite interesting to present a counter-point to all this splendour by featuring a selection of rather unfortunate choices of public art.
As my first example, I’ve chosen a grotesque group of entities on view in the car park of the city’s Luz Del Tajo shopping centre. I have no idea what this abomination is called or who spawned it, and neither do I want to know. I might have to spit at them in the street. Although, I have the quiet suspicion that this was, in fact, not produced by a human being, but by a Godzilla-sized bear, caught just short of the woods.
I mean, what does this look like to you? Any suggestions? A turd in three parts? If I were forced to take a serious guess, I’d assume that it’s meant to represent driftwood…
And if that wasn’t enough to send your optic nerve into emergency shut down, on the side wall of the shopping centre, there’s yet another choice piece of repellent decoration:
Phew! You’ve made it to the end. Now go and wash your retinas with soap and lie down in a darkened room for as long as you need to.