Thursday, December 13, 2007

Carmel continues to be on the cutting edge...

Because one can never have too many sculptures by J. Seward Johnson, the Kinkade-esque utopia that we call Carmel, Indiana has purchased 11 additional sculptures by the internationally acclaimed sculptor.
The compelling image above is titled Waiting. Sadly, the rock-star with the red tie seemed a little too challenging for public consumption, but on future trips to Winter Wonderland, revel in the ever-helpful smiling police officer Oh, It's You, Welcome or One Man's Search which features a boy sitting on a bench wearing a sweatshirt that will be customized to carry the Carmel High School logo!!! The best part, these 11 sculptures accompany the six that have already been installed.

There has been a lot of talk recently about how Carmel has been attempting to cherry pick unique galleries and stores from Indianapolis, Zionsville, etc. (link to Indy Star article not available without a subscription, but there's an interesting perspective here) and it is rumored that the Urban Times will be dedicating much of their next issue to the Carmel vs. Downtown Indy throw-down.

If this latest addition to the cultural landscape of Carmel is any indication, I don't think any of us Indy-urbanites have anything to worry about for quite some time. Unless you have a fetish for doors with penis handles.

Can we all please again give a collective thanks to the Arts Council of Indianapolis, those working on the IMA's Art & Nature Park, and everyone else who is taking strides to push the city of Indianapolis a little further.

Happy Holidays!!

UPDATE: Star has this article this morning. The comments are pretty interesting.

18 Responses to “Carmel continues to be on the cutting edge...”

bhorg said...
December 13, 2007 at 8:30 PM

Carmel is a flipping joke.

Anonymous said...
December 14, 2007 at 10:30 PM

Continuing lameness, snobbiness from the writers of this blog. Y'know, it's not like Indy is such a cultural mecca. You're not living in Austin or Kansas City or even Detroit. I think you narrowly nose out Dayton, OH. Is there a point to this post, really? I thought blogs were for people with something to say...

Anonymous said...
December 15, 2007 at 12:04 PM

Carmel's government sure throws "arts" money around like their is no tomorrow. Too bad they don't throw any toward any legitimate artists in the area. But then again maybe Indy's artists wouldn't agree to the stipulation that the art created from Carmel's money must be "family friendly." The Urban Times article should be interesting.

Anonymous said...
December 15, 2007 at 12:06 PM

I realize that "their" should be "there" - I'm such a poor proof reader. Apologies; edit at will. Thanks.

Wille said...
December 15, 2007 at 1:40 PM

This is what happens when cities let a single person with a lot of tax money at hand and tunnel vision about the arts in control of the arts buget.
The J. Stewart Johnson Statues are just bronze "castings" from real life subjects.
In my opinion the Mayor and some who might think these statues will bring tourism and commerce to the art district are just dreaming.
What makes an art district grow is encouraging support of the arts, artists and the local galleries where they exhibit.

J. Seward Johnson said...
December 15, 2007 at 5:40 PM

I agree with all the negative comments, really I do. BUT, the sculptures are so darn realistic looking, it's really hard to argue with that, I mean just look at them. It's like they are real people that aren't moving, and that is just cool. Am I right about that?
We can all agree that the work is difficult, not everyone is going to "get it" (chris). Sometimes in life people stay perfectly still, and this represents that. I hope you can at least try and see where I'm coming from here. I worked really hard to make these look good.

please get off my back.
J. Seward Johnson

p.s. And the penis handles, well, it's just like having a penis on a door and when you go to open the door, it's just like having a penis in your hand, and that is just cool. Am I right about that?

wille said...
December 16, 2007 at 12:58 PM

I apologize for miss spelling of the artist name
and other spelling errors.

can't resist said...
December 16, 2007 at 3:08 PM

miss spelling... do you mean Tori?

Anonymous said...
December 18, 2007 at 1:52 PM

Doesn't Indy have a giant whale mural downtown? That's so much hipper. And remember how Indy had a bunch of Tom Otterness sculptures all around town right after NY did the same thing? That was sooooo original. This whole post and comment stream is just lame and hypocritical. J. S. Johnson makes kitsch, sure, but is the shit down on Mass Ave really so much hipper? I'm sorry, folks, but--James Darr excepted--that stuff is pretty kitschy and awful too.

& DAGGER said...
December 20, 2007 at 4:45 PM

The sculptures remind me of the plaster casts that used to populate Union Station years ago.

Carmel is on Indy's nuts and this proves it.

Speaking of nuts, if they make penis-shaped door handles, surely they make penis-shaped water fountains.

Just one man's dream.

wild child said...
December 20, 2007 at 5:00 PM

Hey, Carmel, you go!!!!

Calling this "kitsch" is being too kind.

It is bronzed comfort-symbols for the flag-wavin', french fries-eatin', shopping cart pushin', mall-crawlin', gas-guzzlin', "fam-lee val-yous" and "keep us safe at any cost" herd.

To above poster: I would take the giant whale and "kitsch" on Mass. Ave. any day over Carmel's new world order, corporatized parody of the sweet, nostalgic american dream images.

Dear Mr. Seward Johnson: Have you done any bronze figures of the Abu Graib prisoners? How about a Blackwater Thug or an american international financier?
Too risky, eh? $$$$$$$! Cha-ching!!!!

Anonymous said...
December 21, 2007 at 4:51 PM

Wow, a city makes an art investment and all you folks can do is shit on it. Yeah, it may not be what YOU want, but it is a start. Perhaps this will help seed others to more ambitious projects.

Anonymous said...
December 21, 2007 at 6:16 PM

.....or rather, its setting a bad standard for any future "ambitious" projects. Its an embarassing "art Investment" for any city. More than a dozen mediocre statues by THE SAME ARTIST !!!!!!
Anyone with anything nearing a serious appreciation of art will be giggling at Carmels investment.

an actual working artist said...
December 23, 2007 at 10:26 AM

Tha saddest thing about this Carmel statue business is that J. Seward Johnson is the grandson of Robert Wood Johnson and an heir to the Johnson&Johnson fortune. This commission is a drop in his bucket.

1 million dollars distrubuted to eleven local artists would truly be a boon to them and would significantly support their lives as artists.
Too bad the stupid, short-sighted and vain and egotistical Mayor Brainard of Carmel didn't learn some lessons from Bart Peterson. Bart wasn't perfect but he did not play the little autoritarian dictator. He was open to a broader vision of how a city can support art, INCLUDING the local artists.

These statues won't attract tourism and business to Carmel. They only compound the problem already present there, which is an atmosphere of such phony, plastic contrivance that I feel like I'm on the set of some movie being made for the Hallmark Hall of Fame.

As an artist I was excited when I heard there was an effort to create an arts district and "support" the arts. My hopes for anything genuine died long ago. If the proof is in the pudding, Carmel's pudding is packaged in a plastic cup, full of sugar, fat and empty calories. Carmel SUCKS!

HUH???? said...
December 23, 2007 at 10:42 AM

This guy is a J&J heir?????

If this is true the Mayor of Carmel should be investigated for extortion!

You people in Carmel have your heads up your a**es !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...
December 23, 2007 at 2:41 PM

It is kitsch. But when I lived in Santa Fe many years ago, R.C. Gorman was the big name. Not much better than Johnson to my mind. And now Santa Fe is second only to NYC as an art capital and Gorman prints can be found on the walls of McDonald's restaurants. It takes slow effort to get people to look or "see". To this extent, a couple of bad sculptures are better than none. But to add several more just betrays Brainard as ill equipped to position Carmel as anything other than a disneyesque bedroom community. The man cannot "see".

Anonymous said...
December 26, 2007 at 6:21 PM

I guess the Mayor convinced all those arts people to support his budget at the public hearing, and then did not give them a penny. He spent it all on these statues. I thought buying art(term being used loosely) was different them supporting arts groups.

Anonymous said...
January 2, 2008 at 3:59 PM

just wait until all of the mediocre neo-historical architecture is finished... then the crappy statues will have a crappy context. wait... now that i think about it, in whole, it could be one of the largest and most sophisticated postmodern installations ever built!

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