Friday, August 12, 2016

Art, A Scary Business - Off the Wall Friday

LUCY.....the first one and the new one
I love Lucy!  I mean, seriously, who doesn't love Lucille Ball?  Well, apparently, the townspeople of Lucy's birthplace,  Celeron, NY don't.  To be clear, they love Lucy too.  Its the bronze statue of her created by artist Dave Poulin, that they weren't too thrilled with. In fact, they were so appalled at his rendition of their beloved comedian that they started a social media campaign entitled, "We love Lucy. Get rid of this statute". (harsh!)

 And its not just the townspeople either. In  the 7 years that the statute has been in place its  taken on a kind of  local cult following being nicknamed, Scary Lucy.  It was so scary  that its become a tourist attraction in its own right and has generated its share of internet mockery.

Something had to be done.  And it was. New Jersey artist,  Carolyn Palmer was commissioned  to do another statute of Lucy, depicting her in a more positive light.  This past weekend the new statute was unveiled to over-whelming positive reviews.

To be fair, Dave Poulin did make a public apology concerning his work.  He writes, "From the day of its installation, I have shared my disappointment in the final outcome".  He has also gone on to make a huge body of work that has beautified many public spaces.  This one piece from nearly 10 years ago, is still haunting him though.  Worse yet, its haunting him on a national level.

Once I got over the jarring difference of the two statutes, I was struck at how horrifying it must have been for Poulin to see this one piece get such notoriety.  Putting your work out there is scary enough but to fail so spectacularly in the public eye is enough to make you reconsider going into accounting.

I'm sure that the average joe on the street doesn't realize how scary it is to put  your art on display  for public scrutiny.  Nor how difficult  it is to create on demand.   Or how hard it is  to match your talents with that of the expectations of a commissioned piece.

Now that I think about it, being an artist is down right terrifying.

So What Have Been Up to Creatively?


The Inside Stori said...

I hope Ricy got replaced too.....his statue is disappointing too!

quiltedfabricart said...

Omg! At first I thought the statue on the right was Ricky but now see it was supposed to be Lucy. Ugh - I do feel bad for the artist, we all know how things can go bad, then you panic and nothing can fix it.

Norma Schlager said...

I must say that was one scary Lucy and yes it can be scary putting your work out there.

Gwyned Trefethen said...

When I make commissioned work there is a clause in the contract that allows the commissioner to back out if the piece doesn't satisfy them. What surprised me, when I read about Scary Lucy was that the town went ahead and installed the statue in the first place. No one wants their art to be rejected, but a more discreet rejection versus full scale public humiliation would have been nice. It takes a tough person to be an artist. It also takes a tuned in sensitive person to make art. There is the dilemma.

Susan Lenz said...

Thank you so much for this post and for reminding those that read how scary it is to put work in front of the public. Just this week I got a message from an art quilter in England. She is more than a little upset by my grave rubbing art quilts (especially the one most recently shared on Facebook which includes the words: Our Baby Beloved). She accused me of having no empathy for people in grief. She said that unless I have personally buried a child, I have no right to "scratch the emotional surface" of those who have and that my work is in poor taste and illegal. Of course, facts don't support her statements but I've shed plenty of tears over them. I've never expected everyone to approve or like or even to understand my work ... but I also never expected harsh accusations either. Now, receiving such criticism isn't going to make me change my approach or my work but it sure weakens my self-esteem (which is on the low side to begin with). It makes me feel isolated, rejected, and worthless ... but today is FRIDAY! Today I get to share my work on your blog. Please know how much I look forward to feeling "part of something" and accepted. It means the world to me! Susan

quiltedfabricart said...

I just had to comment again to say that I keep going back to your post while in the process of commenting and visiting on other blogs linked. Each time I do, scary Lucy gets scarier and creepier. She's freaking me out alittle bit - lol! I may have nightmares tonight of scary Lucy chasing me screaming Ethal! What did you do to me Ethal!

Robbie said...

I can't believe they approved the artist sculpture the 1st time. Someone had to approve it, right? Unless they were so young they didn't know who Lucy was!! I do feel for the artist but really....really!!!

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