Calgary mayor weighs in on controversial rock and steel sculpture
CALGARY — Calgary’s mayor says controversy over a $500,000 public art installation has convinced him the city’s art policy needs to change.
Mayor Naheed Nenshi admits he hasn’t personally seen Bowfort Towers, a steel and rock sculpture by New York artist Del Geist, and hasn’t formed a personal opinion on it yet.
But he says the city’s public art policy needs more civilian input than the small panel that currently oversees projects.
He’s also calling harsh criticism of the project “unfair” and is comparing it to a “lynch mob.” Earlier this week, some critics complained the towering sculpture appears to emulate Indigenous burial scaffolding, adding Geist should have collaborated with local elders and artists. Geist, who grew up in North Dakota, has previously said he did speak with Blackfoot elders and has said the use of four towers in the piece is a nod to the traditional significance of the number, but has denied accusations of cultural appropriation.