Art As A Neurotic Response to Deactivated Cities

Released: June 18, 2009.

James Howard Kunstler discusses public art in our cities and towns. Modern public art often lacks artistry and is an ironic representation of our 21st century junk empire. But Kunstler says we don’t need any more irony. We need a dignified public realm. Instead of engaging amateurs and children to splash paint on the blank walls of publicly facing buildings, we need to stop creating blank walls in the first place. Even the skilled work of professional muralists often results in little more than a neurotic attempt to give our deactivated streets the appearance of life, when the real problem is that our streets are dead. Kunstler relates these issues to Potemkin villages, trips to Disneyland and do-it-yourself home improvement kits.

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(22 MB | 23:45 mins.)

Photographs Discussed on this Episode

Click on images to enlarge

Tear Catcher Seeds of the Universe
Tear Catcher (left) | Seeds of the Universe (right)

Erosion and of da Vinci
Erosion (left) | Of da Vinci (right)

of da Vanci Erosion
Of da Vinci (left) | Erosion (right)

Mural in Tosca Alley
Mural in Tosca Alley

painted fence
Painted Fence

City Hall mural
Mural at City Hall

Up Your Alley Mural of Troy
Up Your Alley Mural of Troy