Cal­gary mayor weighs in on con­tro­ver­sial rock and steel sculp­ture

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT -

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.

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