I’m just back from Philadelphia, a scrappy Midwestern city on the east coast of America.
Philadelphia is known for art, and more specifically, sculptures. So I took a walk and tried to take in as many sculptures as possible in a few hours. It was raining and very dreary, which was a challenge, but I was determined to see some art.
One of the weirdest sculptures I saw was Government of the People by Jacques Lipchitz. It was created in 1976, and you can tell that it’s a product of the 1970s at first glance.
I’m not a fan of surreal art, which means I’m definitely not the audience for this piece. Call me old-fashioned, but I dislike protruding limbs and heads. I’m not a fan of detached body parts that are weirdly sized, and I’m not alone. I read that the mayor tried to withhold the funds for its final commission back in 1976.
(I also read that the mayor was a jerk, but I don’t know anything about that.)
But here we are, today, with a lumpy bronze sculpture near Philadelphia’s city hall. I spent some time trying to figure out what I might like about the sculpture if I weren’t so freaked out by the bulges and the body parts. Turns out, I just don’t like anything about it. That’s okay. I’ll just go look at something else.
So thanks but no thanks, Philly. I like much of your other outdoor art, but Government of the People wasn’t for me.
All of your (accurate) comments on Government of the People apply to represtative democracy. Perhaps that’s the reaction the artist intended.