Photo by myself in Park Slope, Brooklyn, at 7th Avenue and 9th Street.
I am digging into my photo stash today - the skies have been gray, drab and rainy.
This photo was taken around July 4th. A patriotic cow was seen in cahoots with the younger crowd.
The above photo reminds me of a public art installation, called the Cow Parade, which took place in New York (and, I'm told, everywhere else) in 2000. Bajillions of full sized cows were decorated by artists and littered around the city. The sculptures were then auctioned off to provide money for various charities focused on education, children and those in need.
What is public art these days?
One obvious answer would be 'graffiti'. Some people would disagree, declaring that public art should beautify and lift our minds toward an ideal higher than someone's initials.
Recent attempts at public art on a larger scale in New York has received mixed reviews. Many people were not impressed by Christo's 2005 installation of orange flags in Central Park. I personally found them okay. I was inspired by the sheer turnout to enjoy The Gates, rather than the gates themselves.
The current installation of the waterfalls by Olafur Eliasson is not so impressive. This is the sense I get from the people I have spoken to. If you have an alternate opinion about them, I'd love to know about it.
To me, the most successful public art in recent times has to be the Tribute in Light, which commemorated the victims of September 11th. The World Trade Towers were re-created as beacons of light, that could be seen along the length of Manhattan.
The Tribute was a spatial, ethereal and simple gesture. From my experience, the simplest gestures are the most effective.
Related posts: At The Brooklyn Museum - The Dizzying World of Murakami and Art For the Masses.