Everyone sees things differently. With that relativistic caveat, let’s go.

This sculpture, Facing The Crowd, set at the gates of the Civic Stadium gives off a childish welcome to passersby. Seems fine, innocuous. Who cares? We’re here to see a ball game.

You might have a bit of a deja vu as you exit. Because the RACC selection committee decided somehow to collect two of the same sculpture, and one set at the West entrance and another at the East entrance. Both exactly alike. It’s a sculpture so nice they bought it twice. Must have loved that idea at the procurement office.

Any explanation? No. Continuity between the two? No. Perhaps they thought no one would notice?

Take a closer look and you’ll discern both are designed to be visible from a distance, impervious to weather or vandalism. No barrier between them and the viewer. You can touch to your heart’s content. And, if you’re observant, you’ll see kids give both sculptures a wide berth.



The artist is Michael Stutz, from San Diego. His is routine stuff, manly and clearly ready to market to governmental organizations which need to sink a large pot of 1% gold into a manageable artwork. On his web site he quotes himself, “I try to explore the dichotomies between permanent and impermanent, public and private, external and internal, to create an intimate and human ideal.” Whatta load of crap.

When a public building is built or rebuilt, as was the case of the Civic, 1.33% of the cost of the building is set aside in the “Public Art Trust Fund.” This money accumulates and is used to buy public artwork, to place it in a public place (or where government employees work – the mayor’s office for example has several really nice pieces), to maintain it, to promote it, and sometimes to warehouse it.

Look at this piece again next time you visit the Civic. Are they Gerber babies or crazed S&M totems? Remind yourself our city withholds the purchase price of artwork – and that the process for purchasing this work was recently defined by the City’s auditor as “informal” and “murky.” Commissioner Sam has promised to clean it all up, and recently the Mercury’s Scott Moore listed the promises. Ahh well, we shall see.