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Bad Bear Art

May 31, 2010

bear.jpegI wonder if there might be an inverse correlation between places of outstanding natural beauty and bad visual art?

When there are mountains and trees and lakes that take the breath away, then who needs breathtaking paintings and sculptures?

The greatest works of art tend to be produced in gritty urban settings, it seems. There are a few exceptions to the rule of course, such as environmental artists like Andy Goldsworthy and Robert Smithson, whose works make us see nature in a new way. And there's a lot of very beautiful Native American art that's produced away from big urban centers.

Over the past few days, however, all I've seen up at Lake Tahoe (where I've been sojourning over the long weekend) have been inept life-sized bear sculptures fashioned out of concrete or glazed wood.


  • It's hard to tell from a photograph, and this particular example is more extreme than what I usually encounter in my own ventures up to Humboldt County. However, where you see inept, I see the spirit of Red Grooms as sort of a Ruckus Manhattan goes camping. Grooms is, of course, about as "gritty urban" as you are likely to get; so there may be an alternative lesson to be learned, which is that you can take the artist out of the city but you can never take the city out of the artist!

    By Blogger Stephen Smoliar, At June 1, 2010 at 8:24 AM  

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