The Canadian Press is reporting that the controversial sculpture, Device to Root Out Evil, located for the last 2 years in down-town Vancouver in a prominent location near Stanley Park, will be coming down.
From the Globe and Mail:
The decision to remove the sculpture, approved unanimously by Vancouver Park Board commissioners this week, has dismayed those who wanted to keep the piece’s topsy-turvy church spire where it is, firmly planted in the grass of Harbour Green Park.
And it has rekindled debate on the role of public art in a city that yearns for world-class status but often succumbs, in the eyes of critics, to small-town thinking.
“The Park Board couldn’t find a way to rise above the history and controversy of this sculpture,” George Wagner, an associate professor at the University of B.C. school of architecture, said yesterday.
The sculpture of an upside-down chapel has had a controversial life. First, it was rejected by the director of New York City’s public art fund when he cited fears that religious leaders would be offended.
A few years later, Standford University in California backed out of a deal to buy the sculpture after extensive complaints by churchgoers.
Now that the Vancouver Parks Board have voted to remove this artwork citing, “community pressure”, they are taking public opinions on the decision at the next board meeting.
The artist, Dennis Oppenheim, denies any anti-religious design to the piece.
Personally, I don’t readily grasp the offensive nature of an upside-down-church. What is it that makes this artwork offensive and should it go?