• The Rochesterian in Your Inbox:

    Join 642 other subscribers

Wall Therapy’s Sleeping Bears

Can you imagine Rochester without public art? Art brands a place. Art makes it beautiful. Art makes you stop and sometimes makes you think.

Corn Hill’s Water Spirits

We have a lot of public art in Rochester. Here are just a few: The Mercury statue, Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony having tea, mosaics on the East End Garage, benches along University Avenue, painted utility boxes, the Clock of Nations, the Liberty Pole and the wings on the Times Square Building. (I found a neat catalogue of the city’s public art online.)

Probably the most reviled piece of art is the Maplewood Arch. The paint job on The Hamilton is also controversial, but I think it’s a work of art.

Maplewood Arch

That’s the thing about art. It means different things to different people. It can be interpreted in many ways.

The recent Wall Therapy project produced more than a dozen spectacular murals around town. One of the murals depicts sleeping bears, but many think it looks like a sexual position. I’ll admit, I chuckled when I first saw it. I do think it’s erotic, but I don’t think it’s pornographic. I disagree with the mural coordinator that it the controversy is “heartbreaking.”

It’s not heartbreaking. It’s heartening. After all, it’s art.

Links of the Day:

– A movie is being made about a colorful Syracuse mayor who went to prison. The trailer is a must-watch.

– A Rochester-area man attended his own wake. He might make it an annual event if he lives long enough.

The Buffalo-Toronto Olympics in 2024?

7 Responses to Rochester’s Great Public Art

  1. If you don’t think it’s sexual, then check out some of the artist’s other work by doing an Image search of Roa on Google.

    I’m one of the ones who thinks they look more like rats than bears. But, now that hideous apartment building on St. Paul (Andrews Terrace) has company. Such beautiful lofts on St. Paul with such awful views!

    Also, we have tons of local artists in Rochester. I’m the mother and mother-in-law of two of them. Why do they have to keep going out-of-town to find artists?

  2. August 8, 2012 at 9:55 pm Jill Kemp responds:

    Great post, Rachel. One of my favorite pieces of “Rochester” art is the stained glass wall at the airport. Love it!

  3. August 9, 2012 at 6:33 pm char giambrone responds:

    This “art” is horrific! Sleeping Bears…Really…how twisted do you have to be to see sleeping bears. The upside whale is another nightmare….There is better graffiti for free down the block.

  4. August 12, 2012 at 6:07 pm Orielly responds:

    it will be gone in less than 5 years maybe sooner. and the sooner the better. If your not sure what it is exactly or what it says than it wont last very long

  5. August 15, 2012 at 11:55 am Pe-Tone responds:

    Many of the pejorative comments here are about artistic interpretation. I wonder how sophisticated those opinions are. I wonder at the art education the writers have had or how often they participate in art- even simply visiting MAG occasionally.

    Prejudice is defined as having an opinion that is not based on facts or experience. The artist has named the creatures bears and that they are sleeping. That constitutes the facts. As to experience that would validate art criticism those who give their opinions should put their credentials forward.

    Most people, and especially children, will not see a sexually suggestive depiction. Those that do are influenced by their own experience and the suggestion of others. I suggest those folks who see sex look up the famous optical illusion Dolphins and Lovers and read about the psychology involved.

    Lastly, I hate the snotty tone of some of the commenters. The man who initiated this project did it at great personal expense in money, time and energy. His entire selfless purpose was to improve neighborhoods that desperately need improvement. If you hate the art please send Dr. Wilson a check, a donation to further his project, and tell him you don’t want to see anymore bears in future murals. It’s easy to sit in your den and bitch.

  6. Pingback: Calling All Artists » The Rochesterian

  7. July 25, 2016 at 8:38 pm Susan responds:

    I moved from Rochester 10 years ago to Cape Cod and work in a retail shop. One of the customers asked where I’m from. When I told her – she was appalled because she said the only memory she has of her Rochester visit was of a large outdoor painting of 2 rats doing it on a large building. She said she will never go back. I couldn’t believe my ears. Really, I’m no longer from Rochester – that’s too embarrassing. I had to google this to see if this is for real. Are you kidding me?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *