Before I embark on any trip, I always check the net for public art or street art in the cities I plan to visit, especially places I have been lucky to visit a few times. These searches give me options which I may otherwise have missed since these works of art are seldom listed on the "must see" lists. On my recent trip to Europe, I had the opportunity to see these sculptural pieces that beg explanation, are meaningful, controversial, poignant, thought provoking and Instagrammable (lol). These discoveries were lessons in art appreciation and added mileage to a deeply satisfying trip.
Nothing represents emptiness better than this sculpture about melancholy.
Inverted Collar and Necktie. Claes Oldenburg and Coosje Van Bruggen. Polymer concrete, steel, fiber-reinforced plastic. Westendstrasse 1. Frankfurt am Main. Germany.
The tie as a "traditional part of office attire, its loosening could signify the relief felt by employees at the end of the workday", according to the artists.
La Fourchette. Jean Pierre Haugg. Stainless steel. Lake Leman. Vevey. Switzerland. Commemoration of the 10th anniversary of Alimentarium, a food academy, museum and gourmet restaurant in Vevey.
A Broken Chair. Wood. Geneva. Daniel Berset, Sculptor. Louie Gèneve, Carpenter. Geneva. Switzerland.
The chair is a reminder of the victims of landmines and cluster munitions. Installed in 1997 in front of the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, it continues to be a symbol of the "desperate cry of war torn populations".
L’ange Protecteur. Niki de Saint Phalle. Zurich Hauptbanhof. Zurich. Switzerland.
Niki de Saint Phalle's works are widely recognized for their colorful and patterned sculpted women known as Nanas which embody the feminist spirit.
A Bouquet of Tulips. Jeff Koons. Polychromed bronze, aluminum and stainless steel. Petit Palais. Paris. France.
This is a memorial to the victims of the 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris. It was "created as a symbol of remembrance, optimism and healing", according to the artist. But its installation in October 2019 was marked by controversy. The tulips have been compared to marshmallows and anuses. It has been called pornographic and other names. And in the short period since its installation, it has already been vandalized.
I read that the Eiffel Tower was bitterly criticized in its infancy and called hideous, ugly and a barbaric industrial object. Similarly, the Centre Pompidou was called a monster, shocking and insensitive.
Life would be so boring without art.
Images by TravelswithCharie