Faust-ian question: Does public art have a shelf life?

There’s already a healthy debate going on here about the decision to remove James Wille Faust’s “Chrysalis” from its prominent place at the Indianapolis International Airport this month in order to make room for a video display of digital art and advertising. So I won’t rehash that here.

Instead, I’d like to look at a perhaps bigger question: Does public art have a shelf life?

In the airport case, there was an understanding that the work would rotate (although Faust claims his understanding was that the piece would be on display far longer than three years). But when most pieces go public, there isn’t a stated removal date.

And so I ask: At some point, will it be okay for the statues around the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument to be replaced?

Twenty years from now, would it be okay for “Ann Dancing” be replaced by something more high-tech on Mass Ave?

And if the city of Carmel ever comes to its senses about public art, what should the process be for dismissing the embarrassing J. Seward Johnson Jr. sculptures?

Or, once a piece is declared public art, should it be in place forever?

Your thoughts?

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