If you enlarge the above notice by clicking on it you will have most of the factual information you need about this public art piece. The ever changing art on the windows of this downtown Vancouver Transit station fascinate me and this work by Mark Soo is an excellent example of text based public art. The idioms or phrases used (all of you English majors out there, what are these pairings called?) are: Beast of Burden / Bread and Butter / Cat and Mouse / Bridge and Tunnel / Horse and Buggy / Carrot and Stick. Soo fragments them so they are not immediately recognizable.
I hung out at the station entrance with my camera and watched for any response of people to the art presented here. Within my spaced 15 minute periods of observation I noticed that, out of hundreds of people entering or leaving, perhaps two or three actually stopped long enough to look at the words on the glass. Even less took time to read the description plaque.
These observations evoke questions about the accessibility of public art. I support it but wonder about the interest of other citizens who support it through their taxes. I know that some public art attracts and some is essentially invisible. What is it that makes the difference?
I enjoy and am delighted by Soo’s playful interweaving of socially known phrases but how many share this observation?
The website for this work includes the following quote: “While rewards alone have little influence on cooperation, punishments have some. When the two are combined the effect on cooperation is dramatic, suggesting that rewards and punishments are complements in producing cooperation.” James Andreoni: Rewards, Punishments and Cooperation. I have yet to unravel the connection of this quote to the artwork – any ideas?
The 100′ series was initiated by my 100th Post in April 2012. As text and images are the essence of my blog my intention is to present 100 pieces of textual art from historical and contemporary artists and from my own hand. To view the series to date click on ‘The 100’ in my Category Menu.