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  #1  
Old 08-05-2006, 07:54 AM
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Merlion Merlion is offline
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Is This Art?

A bronze statue of 'Rocky III' donated in 1982 by Sylvester Stallone to the city of Philadelphia still cannot find a home. A group recently propose a site in front of the city's Museum of Art. The city's Art Commission objected. A member of the Commission said it is more a prop than art.

This CNN article explains the story, and shows the back view of the statue. This link shows a front view.

Although I like figurative sculpture, in this case, I tend to agree this statue's artistic merit is low and thus not appropriate for placing in front of a city's museum of art. What do you think?
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Last edited by Merlion : 08-05-2006 at 09:14 AM.
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  #2  
Old 08-05-2006, 02:34 PM
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Re: Is This Art?

I think I agree- it DOES look like some kind of Hollywood promotional prop for the movie. The character and events portrayed were fiction, Sylvester Stallone was an actor. The work belongs somewhere like the lobby of a movie theater, a Hollywood screen actor's display or the actor's estate, not the art museum
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  #3  
Old 08-05-2006, 06:21 PM
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Re: Is This Art?

This story was in the local New Orleans paper today, but without images. My reaction then, and seeing pictures I still more think, that other locations where the figure was placed are far more appropriate than any location in or near the museum.

I've been there many times, and the front of the museum is very spare. It's a neoGrecian or Palladian facade, with the museum at the top of a fairly high hill and bordering a traffic roundabout. A flight of stairs maybe 30 feet high leads to the main entry doors, and it's apparently at the base of those stairs, on a protruding promontory, that someone is proposing to place this. To me, it's an obvious case of attempting to use the museum as promotion for the new movie. Those films basically were hackwork in any case, to my way of thinking, though I saw 2 or 3. Film criticism aside, I don't think a work of art this poor and this commercially motivated belongs at that site, or anywhere in the museum. Alternative sites, such as the sports complexes mentioned in the articles, are more appropriate, if it’s to be exhibited at all.

Further info: Philadelphia’s Rodin Museum is about 3 - 4 blocks down the avenue which terminates at the museum stairs, and a Ben Franklin museum or permanent exhibit also is near the Rodin Museum. This work is not art and doesn’t belong in or near a museum.
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Old 08-05-2006, 07:16 PM
anne (bxl) anne (bxl) is offline
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Re: Is This Art?

Great! my sport club is just looking for some basic minded decoration! I'll give them the adress...
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  #5  
Old 08-05-2006, 08:16 PM
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Re: Is This Art?

Is this art? Allow me to share with you the picture of an abandoned movie prop that I took over, for free, see below.
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  #6  
Old 08-05-2006, 11:43 PM
anatomist1 anatomist1 is offline
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Re: Is This Art?

Rocky is a strange movie franchise. The first movie is actually an excellent film, and the story behind it is even more impressive. Stallone spent years writing it in fleabag apartments and held out against several studio offers that wanted to hollywood-ize it by putting in big name actors and changing the ending to a victory. He insisted on playing the lead and keeping the ending plausible. It was nominated for tons of oscars and won for best picture and director.

Sometime shortly after that, Hollywood went to Stallone's head and he hasn't made more than a movie or two that wasn't laughably crass since, including a bunch of Rocky sequels that diminished the reputation of the orginial. It's actually quite sad. Check out a more recent picture called Cop Land and you can see that he's still capable of good work.

I think the statue would belong if it depicted him all swollen and barely able to stand, like he was at the end of Rocky. The triumphant Rocky of part 3, however, with all the star-spangled pyrotechnics and commercial pandering implied, shouldn't be anywhere near an art museum.
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  #7  
Old 08-06-2006, 08:34 AM
mountshang mountshang is offline
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Re: Is This Art?

I think I'll pass on the question of "Is it art?"

But this figure strikes me as stiff -- like late Roman/Byzantine figures -- sad, turgid -- not something I think I'd enjoy seeing -- but definately outside the mainstream of contemporary American figure sculpture (Glenna Goodacre et al) He attempting a stylization -- but he hasn't gotten very far with it.

It reminds me of Karl Albiker's athletes for the Olympic stadium:


http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,...042650,00.html

(although I think Albiker was a better trained sculptor)

And I agree with Anatomist about Sly's film career -- and maybe this statue is an appropriate tribute to its decline. (just saw the first 20 minutes of Rambo again last night --- that could have been such a good movie -maybe if it had stopped at the moment that Rambo walks back over the bridge)
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Old 08-06-2006, 11:47 AM
mountshang mountshang is offline
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Re: Is This Art?

On second thought -- maybe we should address the question "is this art?" ---
i.e. "is this contemporary art?"

If it were the Jeff Koons brand (he's not a sculptor, he's a brand-name) -- it would qualify as contemporary art -- i.e. its banality would be transformed into an acceptable cultural critique.

But without that identity -- it's just another urban eyesore.
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  #9  
Old 08-06-2006, 03:00 PM
Multi_Pass Multi_Pass is offline
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Re: Is This Art?

I'm failing to see how this isn't art. Just because some of you don't like it doesn't mean that it isn't art and most certainly doesn't mean that it deserves any less recognition than any other form of art. Just because it was made for a movie doesn't mean that it can't be art as well.
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  #10  
Old 08-06-2006, 03:21 PM
anatomist1 anatomist1 is offline
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Re: Is This Art?

I didn't say it wasn't art, I just said it's crass and lame and shouldn't be installed at an art museum. Your assertion that no one here has a reason beyond 'not liking it' seems a disingenuous oversimplification, and a strawman.

Are you suggesting that art museums should have no standards regarding the quality or intent behind works that they display? How about putting a fiberglass 'Big Boy' or Ronald McDonald out front? Better yet, why not a McDonalds street sign? Are these museum-worthy art by your (non) standards?
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  #11  
Old 08-06-2006, 05:14 PM
Multi_Pass Multi_Pass is offline
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Re: Is This Art?

Edit: checking facts.

Last edited by Multi_Pass : 08-06-2006 at 05:26 PM.
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  #12  
Old 08-06-2006, 05:27 PM
Multi_Pass Multi_Pass is offline
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Re: Is This Art?

That seems to me quite the slippery slope from my saying this art work is acceptable to me thinking that a McDonalds street signs are acceptable.

It's nice of you to assume that I have no standards. You would be quite wrong though.

Is this man not an artist? Just because he has been commissioned by a big name actor to create a piece of art of a fantasy character does not mean that what he created was not art or is any less acceptable than any other art work he's ever done.
http://www.schombergstudios.com/

There were museums who would turn down the work done by Marcel Duchamp (especially his "Ready Mades"). Would you have supported the museum's decision? Is what Marcel Duchamp made not concidered art because you or others may think it is "lame?"

Artists throughout history have had their art work called something other than art by tons of people because they do not share the same idea for what art is. Who are you to judge?
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  #13  
Old 08-06-2006, 05:54 PM
Joseph Young Joseph Young is offline
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Re: Is This Art?

Interesting that Fritchie mentions the Rodin Museum in this discussion, given that the founder, Jules E. Mastbaum, was, as their website says, "Philadelphia's great movie theater magnate ."
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  #14  
Old 08-06-2006, 10:13 PM
anatomist1 anatomist1 is offline
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Re: Is This Art?

Multipass,

Once again, I'm not going to get into a debate about whether or not something is "art". No one here has even set out a provisional definition of art, so there isn't even a starting point. If someone does, I doubt any consensus will arise.

You keep mischaracterizing the positions of others and arguing against them, which is classic strawman fallacy. I did not assume you have no standards. What you wrote directly implied that virtually everything even vaguely considered art by anyone deserves equivalent recognition. Interpretation not assumption.

Next, you address whether or not the creator of the sculpture is an artist - a separate question which no one has even brought up yet. Another strawman.

Next you have a whole barrage of stuff centered around the idea of questioning the authority of me or others to determine whether something is art. In this, you are still carrying on with your original mischaracterization of my and others' positions and the same old strawman, despite the fact you have already been called out on it. No one ever said that what is art is defined solely by their own authority or anyone else's. The question is not who judges, but what are the criteria. I think everyone here has at least indicated or implied specific reasons and criteria for why they think the sculpture is not major museum-worthy, even if they didn't spell them out in great detail. I think this is obvious, and you know it, which is why I called the pursuit of this line on your part disingenuous.

I won't speak for others, but I'll lay mine out in detail:

First, intention: it wasn't made to be part of any art dialogue or even for its own sake, it was made as a movie prop. As such, it has more in common with Ronald McDonald figurines, which are made as restaurant props. The purpose is ulterior and commercial, and the inherent merit of the piece was a side-issue until someone tried to unload it on the museum.

Second, and related to the first, the work is not noteworthy on its own merits. It is noteworthy because of the fame of the movie it was in and the character portrayed. As such, it would be better off in a movie museum, not a museum for exceptional sculptures and paintings. Like I said before, if someone made a Rocky sculpture about the first movie, it might be different, PROVIDED it was a good piece, as it would be a sculpture paying tribute to a city-related icon from a great movie, not an ego-bloated joke from a bad one, which happens to be a leftover prop to boot. Even so, such a sculpture would still be better placed somewhere else in public, away from the art museum.

Third, it simply isn't exceptional as a sculpture. It looks like something off of a local junior boxing league trophy. Can you explain what about the piece makes it worthy to be shown alongside great artists in the history of sculpture? Anyone with a movie budget and average figurative sculpting skills can make a large bronze that looks more or less like a movie star.
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  #15  
Old 08-06-2006, 10:55 PM
Multi_Pass Multi_Pass is offline
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Re: Is This Art?

Quote:
Originally Posted by anatomist1
I did not assume you have no standards.
You said "(non) standards." How else am I supposed to take that?

Quote:
Next, you address whether or not the creator of the sculpture is an artist - a separate question which no one has even brought up yet. Another strawman.
I brought it up. I was hoping that the answer would be, "of course they are an artist." Because they are in fact an artist. How would you feel if your art was called "lame" by others and not museum worthy? You were commissioned to do the work, it contains your own personal style (something no artist can keep from putting into their own work). This wasn't a simple body cast done by a non artist. It's a larger than life piece that was created by using photographs. Most works done in the past were commissions of wealthy people and a lot of them were family portraits (which were done by top artists). Are these not art? This is a simple question to get you to think about where I'm coming from. I'm not saying that you don't concider family portraits to be art.

Quote:
Next you have a whole barrage of stuff centered around the idea of questioning the authority of me or others to determine whether something is art. In this, you are still carrying on with your original mischaracterization of my and others' positions and the same old strawman, despite the fact you have already been called out on it.
You kept missing the fact that I also said that it doesn't make it any less important than any other works of art. I said that in general this is art (the title of the thread is asking if this is art, I'm sure you noticed) then I said that just because this was a commission for a movie, it doesn't make it any less of an art piece or not museum worthy (this is the part that's directed towards the posters in the thread).

Quote:
First, intention: it wasn't made to be part of any art dialogue or even for its own sake, it was made as a movie prop. As such, it has more in common with Ronald McDonald figurines, which are made as restaurant props. The purpose is ulterior and commercial, and the inherent merit of the piece was a side-issue until someone tried to unload it on the museum.
Someone unloaded it? Sylvester Stallone donated it to the museum. I wouldn't call an art donation an unloading.

Quote:
Third, it simply isn't exceptional as a sculpture. It looks like something off of a local junior boxing league trophy.
That's your personal opinion. This by no means should keep any piece of art out of a museum. Your other points were more powerful than you bringing in your personal opinion.

Quote:
Can you explain what about the piece makes it worthy to be shown alongside great artists in the history of sculpture?
For me, artwork almost always has to do with the artist's intent. Was it the artist's intent on just making this sculpture for the movie? Was their intent to please Sylvester Stallone? Was it a combination of things? Did they do it for any of the reasons above but also have the intent on challenging themselves or creating a large work for people to see and marvle at or to create a large Sylvester Stallone playing Rocky because they loved that movie (that would make it fan art, wouldn't it?)? If their intent was for any reason other than money or fame or to just make a prop, then to me it is museum worthy.

But we'll never know the artist's intent untill they come forward and say what their intention was. I'm not going to assume what their intention was (because they could have turned down the commission) but untill I hear otherwise, I will gladly defend their work. I sent the artist an e-mail, we'll see if I ever get a response. :P

Quote:
Anyone with a movie budget and average figurative sculpting skills can make a large bronze that looks more or less like a movie star.
And anyone can throw paint onto a canvas like Pollock. Including babies. I find this point irrelevant.
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  #16  
Old 08-07-2006, 04:45 AM
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Re: Is This Art?

I think I should come in as it was I who started this thread.

I put in the title 'Is this art?' as this is related to what one City Art Commission member was quoted to have said. But the title itself seems to have attracted arguments. Sometimes this brings out good points, but sometimes it causes unnecessary unhappiness, and for this I'm sorry.

The original issue is whether this Rocky III statue is of sufficient artistic merit to deserve a place in front of the Philadelphia City Museum of Art. On this I do not think so.

Secondary to this, the other issue is only implied. This is whether some vested interests tried to have it placed there to help promote a new Rocky movie. On this, I have no specific information, but I wouldn't be surprised that this is so. So much is at stake.
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Last edited by Merlion : 08-07-2006 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 08-07-2006, 08:16 AM
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Re: Is This Art?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Multi_Pass
I'm failing to see how this isn't art. Just because some of you don't like it doesn't mean that it isn't art and most certainly doesn't mean that it deserves any less recognition than any other form of art. Just because it was made for a movie doesn't mean that it can't be art as well.
Stuff made for movie props tends to be made of cheap stuff quickly slammed together, after all, the prop may fill a portion of a scene for all of 2 seconds. If we start considering modern movie props as something that belongs in front of an ART museum then where does that end?

Do we put Bugs Bunny and Star Wars toys there too? What about those large standing posters of "Mr Goodwrench? those were also designed by artists!
There are movie, actor, and Hollywood related museums, this belongs in there or in Mr Stallion's back yard so he can admire himself and his greatness through the window.

It just seems like a cheap self promotion trick to donate a statue of YOURSELF like this, with the fact that it's donated putting the recipients in a very awkward position.

Quote:
This is whether some vested interests tried to have it placed there to help promote a new Rocky movie. On this, I have no specific information, but I wouldn't be surprised that this is so. So much is at stake.
Oh I have NO doubt, corporate Amerika pulls dumb stunts like that a lot, we now have fake bloggers, fake "testimonials" and fake "customers" hired by ad firms trying to push products off on people.

Quote:
Third, it simply isn't exceptional as a sculpture. It looks like something off of a local junior boxing league trophy.
It DOES, like one of those cheap cast aluminum sports trophies that are brass plated or painted gold and mounted on a wood block with an engraved plate- all the ones I have seen look like cheap krap with blurred details and mold seam flashing still left here and there.
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  #18  
Old 08-07-2006, 11:04 AM
tobias tobias is offline
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Re: Is This Art?

I think the answer is simple this work is advertising it is not art and i certainly hopeit does not end up any where neer any gallery. I completly agree with anatomist in that the only reason we are talking about this is because its a recognisable object. If I made a sculpture of danny divito from romancing the stone and offered to place it in front of this or any building. then the board turned me down would it have even made it to the news let alone this forum. I think not so whats the deal. This art or not art argument will never be solved its a viewpoint. Are you an artist sculptor painter ? Who told you you were even if you went to school and got a degree so you think you are an artist? Why because some one tells you well now you are? were you an artist in your third year what about your first? Iknow this is sort of off topic but I think this is really what we are talking about. Not about some movie prop. Do we even know who did this work or was it a team .
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Old 08-07-2006, 12:42 PM
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Re: Is This Art?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlion
The original issue is whether this Rocky III statue is of sufficient artistic merit to deserve a place in front of the Philadelphia City Museum of Art. On this I do not think so.
If they would rather have another work of art placed there then they should have a vote on it.

Quote:
Secondary to this, the other issue is only implied. This is whether some vested interests tried to have it placed there to help promote a new Rocky movie. On this, I have no specific information, but I wouldn't be surprised that this is so. So much is at stake.
The CNN article said "Most recently, a group proposed putting the 8-foot, 6-inch statue at the base of the museum steps..."

What I want to know is what group of people wanted that? The statue was donated to the city in 1982 (sorry, I said museum earlier), so it's original intention of being there was not to promote the new movie that's coming out in the future. I'd like to know why this group of people wanted it moved in front of the museum. Was it to promote a movie, or do they think it's soo great that it should be in a better location? Sylvester Stallone has always wanted it to be in a better location, not because he wanted to promote his movie, but because he thought it was a great sculpture (could be because it was of himself, but who knows).
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Old 08-07-2006, 12:51 PM
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Re: Is This Art?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tobias
Do we even know who did this work or was it a team .
Yes we do know. I already posted the name and their website. They are an actual artist.

A. Thomas Schomberg
http://www.schombergstudios.com/

To me, they could have easily turned down the commission. I'd like to know what their intention was when they decided to make it. Was it for the money, the fame? Or was it something completely different?

When you are commissioned to do something, is it suddenly not as good or as socially acceptable as any other art you've ever created? What your client uses your art for is irrelevant. It's their's they can do what they want with it. But you still made it, your style is still noticable in it.

I don't think it's fair to the artist that we are even having this conversation and I think it's flat out rude.
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Old 08-07-2006, 03:37 PM
anatomist1 anatomist1 is offline
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Re: Is This Art?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Multi_Pass
I don't think it's fair to the artist that we are even having this conversation and I think it's flat out rude.
You are really starting to sound absurd. Now you are taking these ill-considered, irrational histrionics to the point of suggesting any discussion critical of another artist should be censored?
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Old 08-07-2006, 04:33 PM
Multi_Pass Multi_Pass is offline
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Re: Is This Art?

Quote:
Originally Posted by anatomist1
You are really starting to sound absurd. Now you are taking these ill-considered, irrational histrionics to the point of suggesting any discussion critical of another artist should be censored?
This isn't a critical discussion of another artist. You haven't even discussed the actual artist and it's possible you haven't even looked at any other works they have done. All I've seen is you flat out bashing this one piece they did over two decades ago.

You're constantly putting down their work by calling it "lame" and saying that anyone with that same knowledge could have made this piece.

Anyone could make the work I do or that you do or could make any piece of art that's already been made throughout history.

These points of yours are irrelevant to the discussion.

I said it was rude that we are having this discussion because people are saying that it isn't museum worthy because it contains no actual thought, it just looks like an old boxing trophy at a larger scale, anyone could have made it and then they throw in the fact that it was used as a movie prop and is just being put into a certain location to promote a movie.

One, it's your personal opinion that it isn't a great sculpture. Multiple works throughout history were kept out of museums because they didn't like the artwork for what it was.

Two, it was a commission done by an actual artist. Not allowing this to be in or anywhere near a museum because this commissioned piece was used in a movie is ridiculous. Not allowing this commissioned piece into or around a museum will just make it seem like all commissioned works should not be held to the same standards as non commissioned art.

Three, you don't actually know for a fact that this group of people wanted it moved to that location just to promote a movie.

*What I put in bold I think is the most important part of what I said, and if you're going to respond to anything in this post, please at least respond to that*
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Old 08-07-2006, 06:59 PM
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Re: Is This Art?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merlion
I think I should come in as it was I who started this thread.

I put in the title 'Is this art?' as this is related to what one City Art Commission member was quoted to have said. But the title itself seems to have attracted arguements. Sometimes this brings out good points, but sometimes it causes unnecessary unhappiness, and for this I'm sorry.

The original issue is whether this Rocky III statue is of sufficient artistic merit to deserve a place in front of the Philadelphia City Museum of Art. On this I do not think so.
I have to agree that the title of the thread was not the best. We've had serious debate in 3 - 4 forums recently on the question "What is Art" or something similar. Let me suggest that we limit further posts to Merlion's stated intent, "Is (it) of sufficient ..."

On a personal issue, I had not investigated the artist, but his website is well-done, and I consider many of his works fine. That doesn't change my opinion of this piece - it should be at some sports-related location, or in storage, especially until the new Rocky movie has run its original trajectory.
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Old 08-07-2006, 08:02 PM
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Re: Is This Art?

Relating to creating good titles to threads, if we do a good job, we have to balance between creating boring unattractive and over atrractive titles.

The problem in this Forum is that once a title is created with a simple click, it cannot be modified. What is done is done. This is unlike contents of postings.
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Last edited by Merlion : 08-08-2006 at 04:32 AM.
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Old 08-07-2006, 08:17 PM
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Landseer Landseer is offline
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Re: Is This Art?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fritchie
On a personal issue, I had not investigated the artist, but his website is well-done, and I consider many of his works fine. That doesn't change my opinion of this piece - it should be at some sports-related location, or in storage, especially until the new Rocky movie has run its original trajectory.
I did a look at his site and bio to get a better idea of his intent, background and goals.
His web site indicates he has works mostly in places like these, which WOULD be appropriate for this particular movie prop;

" national museum of sport,
the united states olympic training center,
yankee stadium,
the spectrum,
the astrodome,
the superdome,
march airfield museum,
riverside national cemetary,
san diego hall of champions,
balboa park,
brookgreen gardens."
-------------------

Basically he seems to be geared for sports related entities- not fine art. The
brookgreen gardens (whatever THAT is) I guess is where they have lawn toys out and about most anything would fit in that scene I suppose.

He has Equestrian sculptures at race tracks and stables, so his portfolio appears to be almost exclusively commercial accounts- race tracks, stables, brookgreen gardens, cemetaries, various stadiums and sports related and a public park.

The exception to all this was surprising as well a moving for me, and that is his war dogs memorial.
The rather poor photos of it do not show much of it, but what I can make out of the German Shepherd Dog's head is excellent and lifelike, it has the quality one would expect of a memorial work
There is a PDF file of a newsletter that has the dedication story with some better photos, including some of veterans moved to giving the bronze dog a hug;

http://www.vdhaonline.org/pdf/APR2000.pdf
There is a much better photo way down near the bottom of this page which shows a variety of similar works;

http://www.cpwda.com/k9_monuments.htm

When a memorial sculpture can move people to give it a HUG, well, what do you think about the purpose of the work and how effective it was executed?








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