Thursday, April 22, 2010

Jeff Wall vs. Dale Chihuly

Peter made an interesting comment in his post on Jeff Wall's piece being over one million dollars, and that this represents a price tag for Vancouver. This implies that Jeff Wall and the Vancouver school represent the art scene in Vancouver, which is probably for the most part how Vancouver is represented on the world art scene, I don't know. I find this idea very interesting in that Seattle is going through a similar phase as Vancouver in its art evolution. Dale Chihuly is probably one of the most famous, if not the most famous artist from Seattle. Since his rise to fame, a Glass art museum was built in Tacoma, his birthplace, and numerous glass art exhibits have been displayed in Seattle. Nowadays in and around Seattle, more and more people are becoming interested in glass blowing. It has become a sort of phenomenon around the city. But a controversy has arisen around displaying Chihuly's art in a garden in the Seattle center. The area under question is one of the last open public places in the city, and the city has recently asked for recommendations from residents as to what to do with the area. At a recent meeting, hundreds of people showed up to support the idea of displaying Chihuly's art in this area. In fact, it was the only idea presented by the residents. Some other Seattlite's showed up to decry the display of Chihuly's art in one of the last open public spaces. After all, they asked, do we really need another Dale Chihuly exhibit in Seattle? I agree. Everyone knows the guy is already from Seattle, its like having 7 monuments to Kurt Cobain in the city center. Why not use the space to display new artists? or reserve it as a place for children, like it currently is? To bring this story back to Vancouver, how well can one artist or a single group of artists represent a city, and why do cities and their residents search out these artists to help develop the identity of the city? Is it just a case of proud residents wanted to support their artists? or rather residents searching for a community identity?

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