16 July 2009

Government-funded genitals covered in fruit loops

The St. Paul City Council held a hearing yesterday on if/how much the city should fund public art projects, which prompted MPR's question of the day: "When, if ever, is public art a good use of taxpayers' money?"

The two extremes of this debate are...

ALWAYS: Public art increases quality-of-life and preserves the soul of our community, and it figures those uncultured rednecks wouldn't understand or appreciate my performance art piece, titled: "The Bowels of Democracy and Fucking Humanity with the Blood-stained Fruit Loops of Capitalism." Whenever money gets tight, they always come after the artists. I'm a martyr!!!

NEVER: Government should only fund defense and public safety, not a performance artist pouring red paint and fruit loops on his genitals while pooping on the American flag. And while we're at it, let's get rid of snow removal -- I can shovel my own damn street, and so can those lazy welfare-loving minorities!
That being said (with a fair amount of tongue-in-cheek), I think there's some interesting room for discussion between these radical poles.

-Since government is supposed to be an objective body (no religion, blind justice, everyone is equal, etc.) and art is an inherently subjective in its expression and interpretation, are the two incompatible at even a basic level?

-When people see more beauty in their surroundings, won't they feel more pride and investment in their community, and isn't that a fundamental aspect/value/goal of America?

-Even if we can agree on the importance of public art, shouldn't we consider the current recession and budget limitations of government (particularly state and local) and prioritize public services over funding for the arts? Is it fair to say that art isn't a necessity?


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