transit art

Hey erin- don't know if you've heard about this from anyone here in Charlotte or not, but...if you drive along this new transit system down South Blvd. you'll see these huge up-right UFO's flanking the tracks. At first when I saw these, I thought they had something to do with the construction process- and while I like the industrial, function over form look just as much as the next guy, these are ugly.

Then, they stayed there... and I realized they are made of dirt. And my opinion of them dropped even further. If you keep driving not TWO SECONDS LATER do you see the railway stop- nothing too fancy, but nicely done in comparison to what it could've been. I'm not sure what the concept is / was behind these, but I decided to do a little bit of research- try and figure out what in the world they were thinking by allowing this "artwork" to become a part of Charlotte's "wave of the future" light-rail system.

I just found an article from the Observer about the art- here's some information I found, and this is where my cynicism comes out:

  • Thomas Sayre is the artist who handpicked the dirt used (impressive?- do artists not USUALLY pick their medium?)
  • These structures are made of dirt, concrete, and reinforced steel.
  • They are apparently aligned with "sun and shadow" and are described as pieces that "bridge Charlotte's past and future." I didn't realize Charlotte had so recently grown out of the caves and into the newest city to host designs by I.M.Pei...
  • "The sculptures are meant to recall the harrowing disks farmers hereabouts used to prepare the land for planting. Eighteen feet high, weighing 11 tons each, the giant circles also suggest wheels turning, the motion of whizzing cars and trains." And extra-terrestrial life...
  • The total cost for the art is about $1.9 million. I'm not even going to start on that right now... but I will take this moment to register myself to vote in the city of Charlotte.
Maybe I'm being a closed-minded, stuck-up designer in thinking that these aren't exactly the best choice for abstract art to help bring Charlotte into the future while keeping their past close to heart. Thoughts?


traphic signs said...

I don't even know what to say to that. ufo is right... and i am all for sculpture, art... etc, i'd like to see these in person.

suzanne said...

Hi close-minded, stuck-up designer....hee, hee. You might enjoy this little video link:


It played a LONG time ago, but I still think it is a funny reference.