Things seen and heard on the Capital Region art scene and beyond
Get Visual is the grateful recipient of a grant from The Christos N. Apostle Charitable Trust
Thursday, July 8, 2010
For Shame! (Sculpture in the Streets)
An example of Seward Johnson's work (not part of current Albany show) titled First Ride
When the Downtown Albany Business Improvement District mounted their annual Sculpture in the Streets exhibition last summer using challenging contemporary art culled by some of the region's best curators, I was thrilled and heartened (see review). "YES!" I thought at the time, "It IS possible to put something better than that dreck by Seward Johnson in Albany's downtown for all the world to see and either like or not."
Well, I am now equally disheartened: Seward Johnson is back, in all his cloyingly clichèd glory, and I don't think you have to be a serious art lover to notice the painful difference between whatever he produces and anything resembling original, creative expression.
It is flat-footed, unfunny, charmless, badly executed kitsch on a creepily expensive scale. It makes me feel embarrassed as an Albanian and as an artist. The public deserves better.
I honestly believe the good folks at the Downtown BID - along with the show's well-meaning and generous sponsors - should be ashamed to have taken this huge step backward in public art. And I beg them to consider going back to the best local sources for next year's installation. Pleeeaaaase!
David Brickman created Get Visual and is responsible for all its content. He has been an exhibiting artist, art critic, and curator for over 40 years. He is a Director Emeritus of Albany Center Gallery. David spent 13 years in the daily newspaper trade as an editor; he then earned an MBA, studied accounting, and worked as an auditor for New York state until retiring in 2019. After a more than 10-year hiatus, he has resumed exhibiting his personal artwork in limited settings.