Kansas City invaded by giant fiberglass teddy bears.
May 27, 2002 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Kansas City invaded by giant fiberglass teddy bears. "Usually, teddy bears are soft and cuddly; these things are hard amorphous blobs. Nobody's openly ridiculing them, though, because no one wants to badmouth a project that benefits kids, some of whom are sick."
posted by bingo (12 comments total)

 
These must be the same ones that landed in Berlin....
posted by CatherineB at 10:02 AM on May 27, 2002


It's the desperate cry of a city being deprived of culture.
posted by geoff. at 10:04 AM on May 27, 2002


we had these pigs in Seattle as well. Once again, it was a worthy charity, but the artists were poorly compensated [or not given enough compensation do do anything really creative or interesting -- hence a lot of pigs with fancy paint, not so many with sculptured enhancements] and expected to sign over copyright on their work to the sponsoring organizations. And let's not forget some very notable individuals and organizations who have tried to participate in events like this and gotten completely shut out. My feeling is, if it's not allowed to be at all political or personal, it's not really art. Not that art has to be controversial, but specifically preventing it fom having a message seem to shut out a lot of what art is. Not like it may not be a great fundraising technique, or a neat idea to spice up downtown, but calling it "public art" is really a stretch compared to to work done by most outdoor artists.
posted by jessamyn at 10:23 AM on May 27, 2002


Chicago brought the fiberglass {cow|*} craze to American shores, and we've had problems following it up, ourselves. Ping pong tables! ayup. Giant all-weather living room furniture! unh-unh. This year, it's Music Everywhere, which sounded good on paper but provoked conflict with the very musicians it was intended to attract.
posted by dhartung at 10:29 AM on May 27, 2002


It's a shame that they don't have any pictures of these "scary" bears. There have been a
number of these public art/charitable events in a number of places recently. I'm pretty pleased
with the results of the "dinodays" in Wilmington, Delaware, and kids love the things.

Here are some links to other projects, which I took from the local paper's coverage of the Wilmington Dinosaur days: Bears in Belfast, Maine (2002), pigs in Cincinnati (2000), horses in Lexington, Kentucky (2000), fish in Baltimore (2001), cows around the world, buffalo in Buffalo, Carousels in Meridian, Mississippi, and dinosaurs in Wilmington, Delaware.

Here's an article on the bears which argues that they are a good fit for the city, and
the official website.

While those are temporary projects, Ithink that there's a lot of positive things that can be said for public art programs. I like the "percent for art" initiative in Philadelphia, which adds a lot to the City. Developers who receive subsidies from the City are required to allocate 1 percent of their project's budget to public art. The project has been going on for a number of years, and it makes Philadelphia a more visually interesting place to visit. There's been a bit of a challenge to that program recently, and I hope that it isn't circumvented.
posted by bragadocchio at 10:47 AM on May 27, 2002


As far as I know, it was the Toronto Moose that began the trend.
posted by Danelope at 10:59 AM on May 27, 2002


Here in Washinton DC, there are more elephants and asses this summer than usual.
posted by crunchland at 11:28 AM on May 27, 2002


Nah Danelope, the Toronto moose came after the Chicago cows. That's why one of the restaurants on Bloor street had a moose painted with cow spots called "An Ode to Chicago".
posted by nprigoda at 1:05 PM on May 27, 2002


I need to see a picture of these Teddy Bears before I can determine if they are uglier (or weirder) than the Giant Mr. Potato Head Statues inflicted on the entire State of Rhode Island.
posted by yhbc at 6:23 PM on May 27, 2002


There were these really lifelike bronze statues of ordinary looking people all over the place in the general vicinity of the Stamford, Connecticut bar strip. On a friday night, the area would be overflowing with mirthful drunks by around midnight and it was not uncommon to see one in a heated argument with one of the statues, I recall several times hearing people call the statues "bastards" and telling them to go fuck themselves. I may have even done it myself a few times.
So...moral of the story: even bad public art can make for interesting public theatre.
posted by jonmc at 6:34 PM on May 27, 2002


I was driving through Princeton, NJ a few years back, at 4:30 in the morning to visit my parents, and there was this guy sitting on a bench reading a newspaper. In the dark. I mentioned it to my folks when I got to their house and they almost busted their guts laughing. Yep... bronze statue.
posted by bragadocchio at 9:22 PM on May 27, 2002


Sorry, Danelope, but it really was Chicago in 1999, because of the chance that someone on the tourism committee visited Zurich in the summer of 1998, where the first "Art on Cows" exhibition was held. He correctly deduced that this would be a hit for the city; and visitors to Chicago took the ideas back to their home cities, so in 2000 there were several and even more in 2001. The fad seems to be wearing off (or thin), this year.
posted by dhartung at 10:26 PM on May 27, 2002


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