Monday, September 30, 2013

Public Art Or Bathtub Fun?

Sunday afternoon, our family (and hundreds of other families) headed into Pittsburgh to see this:

Mmm hmm, that is the head of a rubber duck. 

Artist Florentijn Hofman of the Netherlands created the plans for this duck and many others that have floated in rivers and bays around the world. Pittsburgh, however, has the distinction of having the first giant rubber duck in the USA.

The artist has been quoted as saying that this duck makes the world a smaller place - like a "Global Bathtub". As a mom, that just really sounds disgusting to me - if the world is a global bathtub, I want to be first in and first out! ~grin~  He also feels that the duck is healing because it does not discriminate or have political connotations. ~Ahem~ It is an inanimate balloon... (OK, it's true - I struggle with calling this 'art'.)

I have to say that I was a little disappointed in this 'public art installation': The duck was just a large inflatable - like a parade balloon, I guess. I was hoping it would be a 'real' rubber duckie - thick, yellow plastic, floating in the river. That would be cool, huh?

Once we heard that the big duck would be coming,  I began to do some research and discovered that the artist did not make the duck, he simply created the idea and plans and oversees the work. The city of Pittsburgh (or any other installation city) has to petition the artist for permission to use his plans (and pay for the use of the plans), obtain all permits, provide all supplies and labor, build the pontoons to float the duck, and bring the artist in to oversee, approve everything, and appear at media functions. (not trying to be cynical here - but that seems like a bit of a rip off for the city)

The Pittsburgh duck is about 10 feet shorter that most of the previous ducks because it had to clear so many bridges, so it is about 40 feet tall and 30 feet wide.  It is expected to be anchored at Point State Park in Pittsburgh for about 3 more weeks.

You can go see it if you are in the area, but honestly - it's just a duck!


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