Art Of The Inexplicable

I like some public art and I dislike other public art — but at least I can usually understand what the art is attempting to convey.  No more!  A new bit of public art in Columbus has me stumped.

It’s the creation of a Brooklyn artist named Janet Zweig, and it appears on a wall behind the Key Bank building in downtown Columbus.  It’s a series of unadorned words on an otherwise blank wall.  The first five words were selected by Zweig, they were “Columbus never came here, but . . . ”  Every two weeks or so, new words, suggested by Columbus residents and visitors and chosen by Zweig and curators of the piece, have been added to the wall.  A statement accompanying the piece explains:  “Generative text can tap into an unconscious that often discovers hidden, insightful, poetic, and sometimes humorous truths.”  The new words are selected in an attempt to shift the meaning of the words, and the stated “goal is to change the meaning of the sentence (or sentences) each time a new section is added, in an attempt ultimately to capture the soul of Columbus, as described by its residents.”

I’m not sure words on a wall could ever “capture the soul of Columbus,” but if these words have done so Columbus must have the soul of bathroom graffitist or an adolescent who thinks “Mad Libs” are hilarious.  Does anyone from Columbus actually think this piece reflects well on our fair city?

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