Public art is often illegal, provocative, edgy, loud, and – despite all this – not really Great. Just as often it bears a dozen stamps of approval by authorities high and low, is boring, unnoticeable, and – because of all this – not Art at all.
The small Swiss town of Montreux, the place of one of Europe’s oldest jazz festivals, has a few examples that are great public art, but without racist, gender-related, or anti-capitalist sentiment.
Like the Fork in the Lake above. It was meant to be a temporary sign for a food museum or exhibition, but people loved it and it stayed.
We can get a bit closer to it. Against the backdrop of mountains it looks more impressive than Anish Kapoor’s creation against skyscrapers in Chicago.
The main square in this small town meets you head-on with this:
In Montreux, you wake up in a non-aggressive bourgeois environment, say, to a view like this:
And, after breakfast, you understand why Charlie Chaplin came to live here.
On April, 18th the Jazz Festival’s Programme for July is out. I’m going.
PS If you think my rumblings about public art are those of an old man disappointed by people lining up to buy a Banksy print, read this post about some really crazy public art (or click on the “public art” tag to see them all).
PPS In fact, most of the pictures come from Vevey, which is a town next to Montreux, actually bordering it in a way that you don’t see a gap between them. I usually stay in Vevey when I come to Montreux Jazz Festival.