Is the dingus Spanish impresario Jaume Plensa wants to build in the middle of Fayetteville Street the most brilliant work of modern art in the twenty-first century – or is it a good old-fashioned flim-flam? Is Mr. Plensa Picasso – or P.T. Barnum?
The leaders of Raleigh’s art circles say Plensa has woven aircraft cables, flashing lights, and a rectangle of grass together into a work of sheer genius. Others, who are less kind, say we are about to buy some chicken wire, Christmas tree lights and a putting green (which the city manager says is never going to grow grass) for $4.25 million.
Who’s right? Is Plensa’s “Putting Green” a brilliant, inconceivable, spectacular work of abstract art by a modern-day Michelangelo – or a hustle? It sounds a bit like a hustle for one reason: the price soared from $2.5 to $4.25 million as quick as you can say “abstract art.”
Maybe we ought to take a deep breath and pause before we start telling ourselves Plensa’s “Putting Green” is high art like the Sistine Chapel and that we have one-upped Richmond and Charlotte in the abstract art category. After all, if Mr. Plensa turns out to be Professor Harold Hill instead of Rodin – we might end up looking downright foolish.
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