Art on campus should invoke discussion, interest

The pole is down.

Long live the pole.

With the un-eagerly anticipated resurrection of Walking to the Sky sometime this week, our campus will once again be graced by a large metal rod hovering over the Cut. This new one should hopefully not strike fear into the hearts of both campus administration and passersby as they stare at it swaying maniacally in the breeze. And isn’t that a relief?

While this year’s seniors may hold on to memories of pre-college visits in the days before the erection of Walking to the Sky, the piece has become central to the fabric of the public art scene on campus. You might ask, what public art scene? Is there more than this giant stick?

And while yes, that is the biggest piece, we should not forget about the G20 discussion space that grew out of the Fence earlier this year, not to mention the Fence itself, and of course the big brown wedge. That awkward thing that stuck up out of the ground was removed this summer, and while not actually art, it was covering broken art. But now — it is art again! That space has a newly installed … shack, complete with functioning lightbulb and not quite so functioning audio recording of digging, which seems to have not quite lasted 24 hours, probably a fortunate technical malfunction.

There are a few other random pieces of art on campus — the awkward snowman next to Doherty, the bizarre plant installation on the roof of the walkway between Doherty and Wean, and the backwards sentence on the outside wall of Posner Hall and the giant platform of numbers below.

Yes, this is the current variety of art that graces our main grassy spaces: a couple of cranes putting back up fake people frozen in their journey into the sky, something reminiscent of the entrance to a coal mine, and a few additional random statues and sculptures. Do we wish there were more? Of course. More variety, more projects that last a couple of months, weeks, or even just days (remember the photo boxes from last spring?) to create more interest, more discussion, and a broader discovery of the excellent artists that exist on our campus.

Maybe someday we will have that — art projects springing up out of the ground, creating controversy, dialogue, disappearing; and making way for new, more challenging, more controversial, more interesting pieces. But until then, we can keep taking pictures of those fiberglass mannequins.