Welcome to another edition of the public art news roundup.
It took me a few reads to get through the Stanford letter. If you’re a woman or girl, you more than likely understand at least the threat of what she experienced last January, and may recognize some of the many details from her life over the past year and a half that she describes so precisely and vividly. So I wouldn’t be surprised if many of the letters’ nearly 15 million readers similarly had to take some breaks to lie down or cry or go for a run or watch some distracting TV. Many people reading the letter have also been to awful college parties and understand the cowardice, blind misogyny, and absurdity behind both Brock Turner’s and his father’s excuses for his rape – which boil down to “drinking and promiscuity” – dissected so expertly in the letter. Others will understand without having been to awful college parties because those aren’t the only places where violence and injustice against women happen, and our systems will find a way to dismiss and re-victimize rape victims whether or not there were a couple cases of Natty Light present at the time.
I read another piece this week about three teenage girls who were assaulted in New York City schools and then put through hell by their administrators and the Department of Education: made to re-retell the experience with an attacker in the room; put at risk of repeating a grade because a school transfer was not expedited; told by a principal to stay home because their presence would “make things worse;” or forced to stay home by being fucked SUSPENDED. Following these incidents, a Brooklyn lawyer has filed complaints against the DOE for discrediting and punishing victims of sexual assault especially if they are black and poor, the New York Times reports.
At the end of the Stanford letter, the writer states that she wants to be a lighthouse for girls everywhere, shining “a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere.” My hope is that the attention her letter is getting will have this impact and more, not only for the many other victims of sexual assault who have not had an opportunity to tell their story and be taken seriously, but also for the boys and men out there who believe they’re entitled to women’s bodies, consent doesn’t matter or exist, and, in some cases, that a good lap time and a trust fund qualify as a hall pass to do whatever the fuck with no consequences. I hope that this letter is a light for the girls who have been shut down and failed by their schools and other systems, as well as for the people running those systems. The writer states that she has been trying to explain for a year to Brock why what he did was wrong. For the other people out there who still don’t understand, I hope the letter makes it to their laptop screens. I hope it serves to shine some light for them too.
I’m not getting any better at these segues so I think I might just start putting a line break. For example:
Now to the roundup:
Two incidents made major headlines this week. One: Banksy left a mural and message at a Bristol, England school as a thank-you for a building named after the artist. Two: Vandals defaced Ugo Rondinone’s “Seven Magic Mountains” installation in the Las Vegas desert.
Meanwhile in Bristol, a magical prank on a local sculpture went unnoticed for two years until now.
“Although it might look like a crash site, the artwork is actually meant to symbolize ‘the shaping of our sexual identities.'”
A Voice of San Diego examination found that several of San Diego, California’s public artworks are located at “weird and not-so-public” sites. The publication is in the midst of a series looking at San Diego’s public art; an earlier piece covered the uneven distribution of installations throughout the city.
It took an artist 40 years of nudging the city of Kalamzoo, Michigan to replace old and unsafe bolts on his sculpture before the work finally got done.
A public art project that will bring tree stump-like granite sculptures to a Montreal park is being rushed through at 27 percent over cost estimates, unsurprisingly upsetting many in the city. h/t Hyperallergic.
One example of what it’s like to make public art decisions without a public art policy, from Colorado town Telluride.
An eight-story, $1 million building in Mexico City has intruded into the sightline from a land art sculpture to the horizon, sparking a petition and outrage from the arts community and others.
The Indonesian consulate has been pushing for Australian property owners to destroy a mural painted in solidarity with West Papuans, ABC News reports.
Wolf Vostell’s “Concrete Traffic” returns to public view after a four-year conservation effort.
ArtNet is sponsoring an extended run of Duke Riley’s “Fly by Night” pigeon performance.
These “microinstallations” in Poland aim to revitalize neglected public space.
Rome’s new subway line will incorporate freshly discovered ancient ruins in what city officials are calling its first “archaeological station.”
Featured Image via via beniculturali.gov.it.