Monday, July 11, 2016

Tuesday's City Council Meeting Art Talk: Future Kersting

I might be wrong, but it doesn't look like there will be much going on at tomorrow evening's City Council meeting. The push for yet another round of tax increases has apparently been shoved off until September, leaving nothing much more than the usual mundane bits of small city business.

Which is fine with me. Sometimes in the past unpleasant surprises were saved for the summer months when many of the locals were off on their vacations. It doesn't look like that will be the case this year. That said, there is an item that has piqued my interest, and perhaps it will do the same for you. We had discussed the "Art In Public Places" question in the past, and more than once. Now the topic is back.

It never was that big of a deal, but it did raise some questions about the city's financial priorities. As you may also recall, the Kensington folks kicked in a bunch of AIPP money back when they were doing everything possible to get their project approved. No matter how wacky. I'm sure they saw it as the price of doing business in Sierra Madre.

But now there is an agenda item detailing just how some of that money might be spent. And those available funds have grown, like Topsy. Apparently the city's concerned art lovers, along with some of its developers, have been more than generous, and now the time has come to discuss spending some of that dough.

This particular incarnation of outside art (as opposed to outsider art, which is a very different thing), involves Kersting Court Park of all places. Here is how much of that is described by City Hall (link).


I am certain that many will have opinions about this. The dough being spent is obviously on the rich side, and if this actually was tax money (which it is not), it probably would be put to better use on more practical things. Like refitting some of those leaky water main pipes that are acting up again.

That is, if the matter hasn't already been saved for the 2018 city parcel tax increase the City Council will begin finessing (in their usual opaque manner) this coming September.

But what fascinates me today is the actual art involved. No, not that rather commonplace stuff they're talking about planting in Kersting Court, mind you. What I find quite remarkable are the graphic depictions of that happy place found at the bottom of the staff report. They are really something.

The adult figures shown in these pictures are all sitting up straight, and in the most painfully erect postures imaginable. Their collective gaze, true 1,000 mile stares, are firmly fixed upon matters both internal and far away. Beyond the park is a vast encircling landscape that is featureless, empty, spiritually threatening and uniformly gray.

All of which makes Kersting Court appear like an island having no visible exit.

With the possible exception of some well-mannered children, and the obligatory dog, nobody seated there is looking at the person next to them. As I said, some there have Starbucks beverages in their hands and, elbows held high, their only concern is consuming those drinks.

Obviously most of those so depicted have contributed to the well-being of the downtown economy by purchasing and ingesting mass manufactured drink products, and paid some sales tax to do it. Perhaps it is their one true purpose in life?

So is this a new art genre? If so, I would call it Future Kersting. A brave new world populated by people dedicated to both good posture and drinking liquids from cups. All while apparently oblivious to the ominous world that has consumed them.

Here is how this art appears on the City of Sierra Madre website.


Hopefully there will be some sort of a gallery show soon. I would like to meet the artist.

sierramadretattler.blogspot.com

78 comments:

  1. Where will the Christmas creche go?

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    1. Where will the Christmas Crèche go?
      That was my first thought when reading this article. Such a sneaky way to get rid of the Crèche. Leave Kersting Court Park alone. As it is, the downtown area has become a visual nightmare with its bough-outs and cross walks. The Kersting Court Park is too small to add all that excess outdoor furniture to it. Keep it simple. Enjoy the negative space!

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    2. No room at the Inn.

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    3. Kersting Court is pretty dumpy. Dead tree stump. Termite infested ugly bell tower. Poor landscaping. Keep the pepper trees and renovate the place. But, please, no permanent 'holiday' Tree... Please.

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    4. The concept of the "sacred tree" is very Germanic.

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    5. Druidic as well.

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  2. The funding could be "appropriated" from other organizations? How is that done?

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    1. That's called a 'donation'

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    2. "Appropriated" was an unfortunate word choice.

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    3. Let's recall how determined Nancy Walsh was to get this art money set aside during the approval of the Kensington project. That's all one needs to know.

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  3. No Christmas creche, but a nice holiday tree!

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    1. The Candle Light Procession will no longer walk to visit with the baby Jesus?

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    2. They will walk to the Festivus Latte' celebration.

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    3. Or the permanent "holiday" tree.

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    4. Maybe the "holiday tree" could be a cell phone tower...

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    5. Good idea. It would glow in the dark.

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  4. Does Measure V protect Kersting Court from looking like downtown Pasadena or Los Angeles? Looks like the city wants a fun zone at that location.

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    1. Or a Starbucks Latte' Zone.

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  5. Are city staff requesting a drop down movie screen and storage space for chairs? The rendering gives the appearance of citizens looking downhill to the freeway. Was this the only submission and how was this published as open to all artists?

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  6. Kids will climb all over that wooden structure.

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    1. That needs to be avoided at all costs!

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    2. It could collapse and fall on a latte'.

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  7. Can we get wayward signs pointing to the sober houses?

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    1. Come to think of it, why would the pinney house deserve a sign?

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    2. Besides a Realtor sign? No.

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  8. Looks like the Invasion of the Pod People's grandkids in that drawing, the drought tolerant planting would add to the desolate ambient feeling one would share with the Triangled Kersting Court Pod people.

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  9. At least the sign doesn't look like a tombstone.

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  10. Isn't that the same dog that Joe Mosca borrowed for his campaign materials?

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    1. Ha, lol, good one.

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    2. Maybe the city should scrap that compass and spend the $17,000 on a bronze statue of Joe's dog.

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    3. I think a bronze venti latte' cup would be better.

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    4. I'm still rooting for the guy on the horse from Duarte statue.

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  11. I wish people were better at leaving well enough alone.

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  12. This entire concept is as cold and sterile as those pictures.

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  13. Where is the $17,000 compass?

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    1. Picture 4. One frame from the bottom. North points to the sky, south points to where the bad people go.

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    2. This whole thing might have been Elisa's project. If so she will be a good fit in Rancho Cucamonga.

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  14. The city has all of that money to spend and cannot find anything to use it on. Must be driving them nuts. Maybe they should just invest it in something.

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    1. maybe trim the trees, fix the sidewalks and the water pipes. Oh Wait! we will stick the tax payers with that!

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    2. Yes, all those things Measure UUT money was supposed to take care of, but won't. It all went to rescue the cops.

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  15. That compass is $17,000. I have a bridge I would like to sell the city.

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    1. Great please install it over the wash up at brook side

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    2. To paraphrase Bob Dylan .."you don't need a compass to tell which way is North with the San Gabriel Mtns in the background"..... A compass. Maybe the City is looking for direction......

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    3. I think they'd be better off with a dowser.

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  16. What part of ART don't these people understad ?

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  17. Tear down the stupid "bell tower" whatever it is? and put in a bench and tree. Done deal,easy,cheap,functional.

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    1. Spoken like a true civic planner

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  18. North is up, or at the top of the map, south to the opposite direction. E and W is E and W. No matter whether you have the compass rose on the ground on on a verticle sculpture. But for me, this computer generated "art" ist rendition is pathetic. Where are all the cars that will be the mass to the north east along the court and where are the buildings as well? to the south, show the grease on the pavement where the bus stops. Where is the comfortable bench for the riders to sit. The plant pallete as been underdiscussion for a long, long time as this whole plan came to the Tree Commission when there was a Tree Commission. They had some good ideas that are long gone.

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    1. The further south you go the hotter it gets.

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    2. That clean slate surrounding is standard development industry practice. Every plan for MacMansions takes place on something very like the English countryside, with the proposed structure alone in isolation. Notice the vast open distance to the far mountains.
      Phooey. Those haven't been visible like that for a century. Or more.
      It's a developer trick.

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  19. A new home for Georges' horn?

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  20. In the bottom picture, the guy sitting at the picnic table on the right drinking something. Is that John Capoccia?

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    1. Those are just townies getting "buc'ed up".

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  21. These are not our townies. That artiste is a fraud

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    1. They might be pod people.

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    2. They are pod people. That explains the weird, albeit perfect, posture.

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  22. Bring back the giant Violin Spider as abstract art. That could span over the entire area and provide shade along with conversation about what is notable about the town. Forget that horse and rider Duarte has; we've got a toxic spider.

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    1. Display the turtle from Turtle park,The cannon from Cannon park,and the pool from Pool park also please. Do you know the whereabouts of that statue of the spider? A major unsolved crime.

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  23. Glad you're having fun with this. The sub-committee worked over a year on a plan for art in public places, and submitted ideas to the City Council after the Commission discussed and approved. Capoccia and crew didn't like any of the ideas and sent it back to the drawing board (no pun intended) to consider a statue or some kind of art work in Kersting Court. The sub-committee regrouped and came up with a call to artists to come up with an art project. That didn't get considered, instead someone from Civic Club got a landscape expert to draw up computer generated plans, and combined with the foundation and maybe other civic organizations? came up with this plan, presented it to the Community Services Commission and with some minor changes, was approved. It looks like the call for artists will be for bench designs, mosaic, and other small projects. Some of the improvements actually fit into the Parks and Facilities Update Plan, so it's better than nothing at this point.

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    1. The Pod People's Neo Village of the FoothillsJuly 11, 2016 at 4:52 PM

      No. Nothing is better than this or any other monstrosity. Just leave things alone. Stop trying to put your little imprint on everything like a political signature for your days in local city office. I'm so tired of busy bodies in local council positions or commission offices. Ugh.

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    2. Sorry. Better than nothing is not good enough. A lot of money will be spent and it will be here for decades, it must be done right. This plan looks like it was done by a first year Landscape Architect. First project of the year.

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    3. 4:05P Could you explain the cost of the ridiculous compass? Is that art? If so, by whom. The Weeping Wall is an art piece. This whole concept is ridiculous. Who is gonna use it? All the drop off kids after school? The bikers on the weekends? The Committee didn't work too hard on this project! I won't even mention the Sierra Madre Rock sign. Won't people know where they are? Maybe Kersting Court would be better. Or maybe nothing at all except what is there fixed.

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  24. Four of the renderings feature children tossing a beach ball. Oh, my! There will be a lot of frayed nerves as they retrieve the ball not caught as it rolls into traffc. Such artistic rot! And check this out, the second to the last photo has a car drive west to east on the lefthand side of the road. Lifted this mash up from England/Australia/Malaysia/India/New Zeeland did we? Golden Retriever is off leash and no collar/rabies tags!

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  25. Has anyone seen the pink cow lately?

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    1. Do to the Mod's pictorial exposure and Tattler article, the cow miraculously turned brown overnight. One day it was pink, next morning it was brown. See the old Tattler article. Maybe the Mod knows the date.
      How now brown........?

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  26. Attention Sierra Madre Art Lover's - you already have live or canned Art performing right before your eyes either you attend one of many publicly held meeting featuring star performers of Planning Commission or City Council - what better entertainment can you ask for? And your tax dollars pay these shiftless actors.

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  27. What rock did you crawl out from under? None of those people are paid,it's called public service. Go back from whence ye came.

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    1. Just because someone works without pay doesn't automatically make them virtuous. Sometimes there is a reason for the lack of compensation. But if the work is good then it is a public service. And if it is not? A public detriment.

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  28. o.k. don't sit on your behinds, come to council meeting on Tuesday night and say you want Kersting Court to stay exactly like it is, no plastic people, and no art. That way your voice can be heard without going to the trouble of going to any other commission or future council meetings.

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    1. Like people in this town go to CC meetings! They only go when they don't want the Sheriff or want the UUT. No one is spending tax payer money that they can say, "I'll write a check right now! I love taxes!."

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  29. 17K for wrought iron ?
    How about an inlay circling the park to look like Wisteria Vines and putting in large letters representing the 4 corners of the world that lite up at night with a nice moon lit glow ?
    I can only imagine how well this renovation will keep up with the junior high school set ... Reality is this will become the new and improved pick up and drop of site for the mommies in minivans and SUV's .
    Better yet the renevated site will be invaded by men in tight spandex shorts on bikes living out there Tour De France fantasies ... Not only will they invade they'll take up all the parking in K court to prepare their rides so they can pedal off into the Saturday morning mist .
    Tweens and men in spandex will spell doom to K Court .
    P.S. I' ll fashion out a compass with wire coat hangers for free .


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    1. Yeah, $17K. I'll bet you could get something like that at Home Depot. But for a lot less money.

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  30. Does anyone hand render ideas anymore ?
    Computer renderings are ugly and lifeless .

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  31. Hard uninviting design taking up what little space is available for kids to play in. Very poor design that is not a Sierra Madre look. The look is so for the designer not for the little kids and big kids. This project is typical of city hall, wonder how much will be skimmed off the top for management fees. It is so disappointing when that spot could be so functional and spectacular. Did I miss the invite for the community to submit ideas?

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    1. We all did! This design is not practical. And not very functional.
      It is very convoluted.Yuk!

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  32. The old goonies in charge of window dressing the town, only the Civic group gives input? This town should be open to all .VOICE YOUR OPINIONS AT THE JULY 12TH MEETING @ 6:30pm.

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  33. A small wedge shaped pocket park needs to have as little stuff in it as possible. Fill up each one of those picnic tables and park benches and you might as well be in the bleechers at a Little League game. Change out the grass to a few native plants and plant another native tree to replace the Peruvian Pepper tree (only called a California pepper by those who don't know their early California mission history). Leave the hardscape early 1970's and we're good!

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