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Controversy In Art: Richard Serra’s “Tilted Arc” sculpture.

For this writing assignment, you will need to carefully look that at the two above photographs of Richard Serra’s controversial sculpture entitled “Tilted Arc.” This topic will also be covered on the first day of class during the first lecture.

Richard Serra was commissioned by the Art-in-Architecture division of General Services Administration in 1981 to create a 12 feet high, 120 foot long sculpture made out of Cor-Ten steel in a Federal Plaza in downtown New York City. The public who had to interact with the sculpture everyday immediately cried: “This is not art!” They even went so far to say that the sculpture was “ugly, rusty, and a target for graffiti.” They also argued that the sculpture interrupted normal pedestrian foot traffic across the plaza. More than 7,000 workers in the surrounding area signed a petition to have “Tilted Arc” removed.

Artists, dealers, and critics rushed to the sculpture’s defense. Serra himself argued against any attempt to remove “Tilted Arc” because he argued it was commissioned specifically for that location, and any attempt to remove it or place it in a more convenient location would compromise its artistic integrity.

The public’s voice ultimately won, and the sculpture was taken down and dismantled in March of 1989.

In a page and a half or longer of writing, I would like you to carefully think through this issue and formulate an opinion on it.

Some questions you should answer in your paper are: 1). Was “Tilted Arc” a “work of art” or not? Why? Give reasons and specific examples. 2). Was the public justified in having“Tilted Arc” removed? Why or why not? Give specific reasons and examples. 3). Is a creation by an artist not considered “art” just because the public does not agree with it? Why or why not? 4). Does the definition of art lie at the feet of the creator (artist) or does the public have the right to decide what is art? Why or why not? 5). Does this sculpture fit in to your personal definition of art? 6). Does art have to be beautiful, skillful or convenient in order to be “art?” These are all questions I would like you to address in your writing for assignment #1.

Please be mindful of spelling, grammar and complete sentence and paragraph format. Respond in one and a half pages or longer of writing. No double-spacing or larger than 12 point type please.

 
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