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Wierd Statues in Paly Parks - Help !

Original post made by Paly Resident, Old Palo Alto, on Aug 20, 2006

There is a park at the intersection of alma and north california avenue. Several months ago a very very VERY wierd statue showed up in the park.

It is, as best I can tell, a car with legs.

On the one hand, this is a very lame statue. We would be better off with nothing. On the other hand, I shudder to imagine how much it cost. argh. my taxes are too high anyway.

So I want to know... who by name is responsible for approving ths eyesore? who? when? How can I stop the next one?

Am I the only one that 'doesn't get it?'

Comments (14)

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Posted by Art Lover
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 20, 2006 at 9:19 pm

Paly Resident,

The people responsible for the weird statue you saw, and all the other nonsensical "leading edge" art around town are the Public Arts Comission. Their contact information is listed below.

But (to answer you other question) there's nothing you can do about this, or the next eyesore. The cabal that controls the selection of "public" art, are pretty much insulated from the political process - and are protected by the city establishment.

I don't get it either, but then I'm not one of the anointed who does. I only pay for this stuff...

ACEBO-DAVIS, Terry 1313 Newell Road, 94301
N/A 04/30/2009

BICK, Tenley
838 Roble Avenue, #5 Menlo Park, 94025
667-6447 (h) 324-4450 (o)

404 W. Meadow Drive 94306
493-1540 (h)

DEEM, Laura
685 Sierra Avenue, Mt. View, 94041
938-2208 (h)

830 Santa Fe, Stanford 94305
856-1145 (h)


KIRKEBY, Paula 257 Ely Place 94306 493-8867 (h) 04/30/2009

2433 Sharon Oaks Drive,
Menlo Park 94025
234-1211 (h)

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Posted by 64 mustang
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 20, 2006 at 9:50 pm

Web Link

some of the other work is ok. you can see what else the sculptor did. her name is marta thoma.

the car with legs is pretty strange. i don't like it at all either. wonder what the city paid for it.

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Posted by Bvrwins
a resident of Mountain View
on Aug 21, 2006 at 9:12 pm

Just look around on this site and you'll find the answers:

Web Link

It was *only* $18,000. You can't get more shock value than that even if you'd spent it on a bunch of Tasers. ;-)

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Posted by ART?
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 22, 2006 at 10:32 am

We paid $18K for that??!!!

What a waste, I agree with the person that started this thread that we would be better off with nothing. Why do we continue to pay for "art"? I think I read something somewhere that said other Cities don't pay but allow the artist to display their work for a few months; why can't we do the same thing? Couldn't the City use the $18K for something we could all use???

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Posted by silent majority
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 22, 2006 at 1:19 pm

I saw it. Drove buy on alma. It doesn't show much artistic content. It is original but so is a mud pie with a stick in it.

How do these people get these budgets to spend?

The $18000 would be better spent on more equipment in the park, nicer plantings, a better walkway.

Anything but the car with legs.

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Posted by Carol
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 22, 2006 at 6:43 pm

I saw it the first time months ago and it distracted me so much I took my mind off my driving. It is not so startling now, but it is certainly eye catching and I wonder if there has been an increase in traffic accidents on Alma?

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Posted by A.J.
a resident of Green Acres
on Aug 22, 2006 at 6:46 pm

I personally would love to see a higher value of beauty in this country -- but please don't flame me yet, I'm not defending the statues as espousing that value. In fact, the way we design public spaces, homes, landscaping, and retail spaces can be improved with just simple value of the aesthetic, it doesn't really cost more to value good design (as Ikea and Target have demonstrated -- though I think it's really ironic that both stores sell well-designed cheap goods from eyesore buildings).

Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. My preschooler loves the statue of the car with legs, probably because of its cartoonish nature and the location at a children's park...I'm at least glad that someone had the foresight not to put a statue with sharp edges at a children's playground (as at some other parks in our city). I regard it as more of a curiosity, though if the money were fluid (it probably isn't), I wouldn't mind instead having some of the playground equipment improved, or a portable bathroom put in so the park visitors and homeless people who wander over there in the evening anyway would have a more hygienic place to "go" so to speak.

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Posted by Leslie
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 23, 2006 at 6:49 pm

Does anyone know why several of the people on the PALO ALTO public arts commission live in MOUNTAIN VIEW and MENLO PARK? Am I missing something or shouldnt PA public art commission be made up of PA residents?

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Posted by Art Lover
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 24, 2006 at 7:11 am

Good Question Leslie...

You know a few years ago, some of Palo Alto's Utility Department employees were caught doing work for Menlo Park residents. Maybe the city council thought that since Menlo Park residents get Palo Alto services, they should have some representation in government.

But you make a serious point: it does seem wrong - outrageous even - that a government commission that has control over spending city money should have representatives from other cities. I don't understand the theory that would support this.

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Posted by Karen
a resident of Crescent Park
on Aug 25, 2006 at 11:10 am

Thank your lucky stars that you don't work on California Avenue near the statue of the pig. I do that every time I see it. i can't imagine what the owners of the surrounding businesses think.

It's pretty clear that the Arts Commission picks garbage so when everyone says "That's garbage," they can claim with an air of superiority, "You don't understand Art."

And when by accident there's a statue that's great, like the Foreign Friends one from Sweden, that kids used to climb on, and families used to visit, they cooperate with the nutcase who damaged it by deliberately placing it in harm's way, "restoring" it badly, and then moving it to an inappropriate place. When I heard that they planned to destroy it, I contacted the then head of the Arts Commission and offered to buy it, but he went ahead and had it destroyed anyway. I guess Palo Alto didn't need the money, and his hatred for Art that people actually liked was just overwhelming.

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Posted by K
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Sep 10, 2006 at 6:21 pm

I didn't know about this piece of "art" so thanks for alerting me...but I don't care at all for any of the other public "art" pieces around Palo Alto - in particular, I can't stand the art egg and the new sculpture at the corner of El Camino Real and Oregon. I do think it's possible to have attractive, suitable public art, but we don't have it here.

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Posted by Angie
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 29, 2007 at 3:19 pm

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The car-with-legs in the little park at Alma & Oregon draws attention because it is original and definitely imaginative. So is the egg on Lytton Plaza, but this would do better in a garden setting then where it is now. I might be a minority, but I get a kick out of both these pieces of art. I also liked the "Foreign Friends" from Sweden - too bad they were destoyed. Lets keep an open mind and not force individual opinions of taste on our neighbors.

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Posted by Driver
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 29, 2007 at 7:13 pm

The worst thing about the statue of a car with legs in the park at Alma/Oregon is its position. It is definitely a distraction. The first time I saw it I definitely stared at it longer than a driver should. Next time, please put art work where drivers won't be distracted by them.

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Posted by natasha
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 29, 2007 at 9:34 pm

I have to check out the eg statue. I was in Davis about 15 years ago and back then there seemed to be this horrible proliferation of egg sculptures, culminating with an incredibly insulting one next to the law school of two eggs with no ears shouting at each other. . .

Other than the eggs, I really, really hate that doll with a face in her body on California Ave. It creeps my kids out too. I am all for modern art (I think the giant banana peel at Cantor is hilarious and cool, and I like those straw sculptures by the Dish for example), but seriously, could the commission be enticed into choosing art that is more interesting and humorous and thougt-provoking and less freakish?

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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