Must do better: Standards in public art

The letters pages of many a newspaper, the lively high-stool forums or the online chat rooms that neatly reflect the heartbeat of a society have often been exercised by the idea and quality of public art.

Those debates usually focus on the concept behind a piece — Dublin’s Spire was an example —rather than its execution.

The idea, the affection instigating a work usually wins out over the authenticity of an artist’s representation. That latitude can, however, lead to unnecessarily poor outcomes.

In recent weeks two statues were unveiled in Limerick to honour two of Shannonside’s finest sons — Anthony Foley and Terry Wogan.

It is more than unfortunate that any resemblance between the monuments and their subjects is coincidental.

That charge can be levelled too at the statue purporting to be an image of a golfing Bill Clinton in Ballybunion.

These statues are a public expression of respect but they should also reflect the standards those who are so honoured set for themselves. We must do much better than we have in these instances or maybe just plant a memorial tree.


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