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Yesterday, I found myself deliberately not making a left turn on Vermont from New Jersey Street.
My reason: I just didn’t want to see the Julian Opie “Ann Dancing” electronic sculpture.
Now, I’m a big fan of public art. I believe it can help define a city, a neighborhood, a street. And I think public art should be a key ingredient to both Mass Ave. and The Indianapolis Cultural Trail (Ann is parked on an intersection of both). And I’ve got nothing against this piece, if it were in a different location.
What I’m not a fan of is art that keeps demanding attention. For me, “Ann” is like that annoying “Tonight on Fox” information that pops up at the bottom of your TV screen when you’re trying to watch a show. I feel intruded on every time I see her.
I didn’t have the same reaction to her Opie-created friends who drew attention downtown last year in part because I knew they were temporary visitors. “Ann,” on the other hand, isn’t going anywhere. She’s like that crazy, fun person who enlivens your party…and then sticks around long after the party’s over. Two days later, she’s still drinking in your living room.
And so you avoid the living room.
It comes down, I think, to location. I appreciate the TV-set sculpture on the top floor of the IMA, but it would drive me nuts if it were in a city park I frequented. A moving neon sculpture on a busy intersection is a distraction, not an enrichment.
I’ll make the left on Michigan.