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KunstlerCast #69: Public Art & Public Eyesores

Art As A Neurotic Response to Deactivated Cities

Released: June 18, 2009.

James Howard Kunstler discusses public art in our cities and towns. Modern public art often lacks artistry and is an ironic representation of our 21st century junk empire. But Kunstler says we don’t need any more irony. We need a dignified public realm. Instead of engaging amateurs and children to splash paint on the blank walls of publicly facing buildings, we need to stop creating blank walls in the first place. Even the skilled work of professional muralists often results in little more than a neurotic attempt to give our deactivated streets the appearance of life, when the real problem is that our streets are dead. Kunstler relates these issues to Potemkin villages, trips to Disneyland and do-it-yourself home improvement kits.

Direct Download:
(22 MB | 23:45 mins.)

Photographs Discussed on this Episode

Click on images to enlarge

Tear Catcher Seeds of the Universe
Tear Catcher (left) | Seeds of the Universe (right)

Erosion and of da Vinci
Erosion (left) | Of da Vinci (right)

of da Vanci Erosion
Of da Vinci (left) | Erosion (right)

Mural in Tosca Alley
Mural in Tosca Alley

painted fence
Painted Fence

City Hall mural
Mural at City Hall

Up Your Alley Mural of Troy
Up Your Alley Mural of Troy


About James Howard Kunstler

View all posts by James Howard Kunstler
James Howard Kunstler is the author of many books including (non-fiction) The Geography of Nowhere, The City in Mind: Notes on the Urban Condition, Home from Nowhere, The Long Emergency and the four-book series of World Made By Hand novels, set in a post economic crash American future. His most recent book is Living in the Long Emergency; Global Crisis, the Failure of the Futurists, and the Early Adapters Who Are Showing Us the Way Forward. Jim lives on a homestead in Washington County, New. York, where he tends his garden and communes with his chickens.

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