Monday, April 20, 2009

See Work by Kuhn and Oppenheim

The work of both Hans Peter Kuhn and Dennis Oppenheim graces many important public spaces around the world. Click on the links at right to see examples of the sculptures and installations of these two world-class artists.

(For Hans Peter Kuhn, click on "english" and then view "installations.")

Friday, April 17, 2009


The Arts & Culture Commission met last night with a one-item agenda -- "Discussion of Arts and Culture Commission Report to City Council Regarding 90-day Council Directive of a Pasadena Center Operating Company Amended Artist Selection Process."

Chair Dale Oliver helmed a mostly forward-moving discussion about whether to present a one-part or a two-part recommendation back to City Council; the original proposal alone, or a Part A/Part B. Oliver, acting on the consensus from the group's previous meeting, had drafted a two-option proposal, re-recommending in very strong terms the original Kuhn and Oppenheim pieces but adding an "if you still won't go for it" contingency -- that the remaining $630,000 be spent on interior -- hardly public -- art.

The Commissioners in attendance (only six of nine were present) had a meticulous discussion about what was at risk if they returned with the same recommendation they'd submitted back in January; however, Patrick Conyers observed that "it wouldn't be the same recommendation -- there has been more evaluation and more input by the public" and this extended process has only served to strengthen the Commission's resolve.

In the end, the Arts & Culture Commission decided to hold their ground, defending the last three years of diligent planning, selecting and evaluating, and will send their support of "Lightfield" and "Thinking Caps" back to City Council, eliminating the interior artwork option.

In expressing his belief that the Convention Center plaza deserves "monumental works of art," Oliver exhorted the community to demonstrate their support of the artworks to City Council when the moment arrives. He can rest assured that we will.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Compromise = Solution?

A Special Meeting of the Arts & Culture Commission will be held Thursday, April 16, at 5:30 pm in the Hearing Room of the Permit Center (Hale Building), 175 N. Garfield Avenue. This meeting has been called to discuss the options discussed by the Public Art Subcommittee at its meeting last week, as the Commission prepares to take its "information item" -- their decision on sticking with their original recommendation, or another option -- back to City Council.

The Pasadena Arts Council has developed a compromise proposal which it has sent to Commission members and other community leaders. This proposal suggests a re-siting of the Kuhn and Oppenheim works which retains the spirit of the original "Art at Pasadena Center" planning document, addresses the concerns of both Pasadena Heritage and PCOC, and keeps iconic artwork on this important public space.

Please click on the link at the right, "EAST OPTION," to view this proposal as a PDF.

And please plan to attend the Special Meeting of the Arts & Culture Commission on Thursday the 16th. Your voice in support of public art on the plaza is urgently needed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


The long-awaited meeting between the Public Art Subcommittee and representatives from the Pasadena Center Operating Company finally took place last night at the Conference Center. Less well-attended than the previous (non)meeting, there were nonetheless a number of arts supporters, arts leaders and other members of the public who voiced their support for public art and concerns about the ongoing debacle on the plaza -- including the observation that the place, now empty except for light standards, was actually more interesting during the messy construction phase. Heritage folks were in the audience, though they were silent during public comment.

The Public Art Subcommittee held fast to their position that good -- no, great public art belongs in this space, that the space in its current state languishes, empty and unappealing, and that Pasadena's citizens deserve a lively and significant gathering point. PCOC continued to insist that the entirety of the plaza must be kept clear for money-making events and that the art they envisioned would be attached to the walls in the two pavilion buildings. Back and forth it went, ending up even with some confusion as to whose meeting it was and who was to vote on the issue at hand.

Ultimately, the Subcommittee agreed amongst themselves that they would go back to the full Arts & Culture Commission with the recommendation that the Commission return to City Council with the original Kuhn/Oppenheim option as Option A, and a to-be-determined Option B.

The original 90-day deadline may still be ticking in some minds, but in fact Pasadena Arts Council reps Stephen Nowlin and Terry LeMoncheck have obtained Mayor Bogaard's OK on extending the 90 days to a more reasonable amount of time for the process to have the full measure of deliberation it deserves.

Arts & Culture Commission Meeting
5:30 pm
Hearing Room, 175 N. Garfield Avenue, Pasadena

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Received late Thursday afternoon was a Public Art Subcommittee meeting agenda, short on details and co-signed (in absentia) by Subcommittee chair Wallett and PCOC chair Seifert. All that can be inferred at this point is that there's an agenda. Who shows up from officialdom is anybody's guess.

Public Art Subcommittee Meeting
Tuesday, April 7, 5:30 pm
Pasadena Convention Center, Conference Bldg. Room 211


This is the Time for Action

We have learned that on Monday of this week, staff of the Pasadena Planning and Development Department recommended to the Pasadena City Council that any further consideration of the Kuhn/Oppenheim sculptures at the Convention Center be put on hold until after a so-called "Citywide Public Art Plan" can be developed.

While a debate about future public art policy in Pasadena may be a good idea, the Pasadena Arts Council (PAC) strongly disagrees with the sudden creation and prioritizing of such an action at this time, uinderstanding that its primary effect will be to halt the democratic process presently moving forward regarding the Arts & Culture Commission's selection of Kuhn/Oppenheim sculptures for the Pasadena Center Plaza.

Two things may happen now:

1. The City Council may vote at its meeting this Monday to adopt the staff recommendation that the "Citywide Public Art Plan" usurp any further discussion of Kuhn/Oppenheim. We will have a clue about this when the Council publishes its agenda, by 5:30 on Friday.

2. Depending on what City Council does Monday, the Arts & Culture Commission may finally have its first meeting with the PCOC (Pasadena Center Operating Company, which opposes any sculpture on the plaza) to discuss Kuhn/Oppenheim on Tuesday, April 7.


PLEASE NOTE: THIS IS THE TIME FOR ACTION! The art community must show up in force at one or both of these meetings -- MONDAY and/or TUESDAY -- to let City officials know that THE ARTS HAVE A VOICE IN PASADENA! YOU ARE NEEDED!