Pentagon Art: $600,000 Gurgling Toad Sculpture
Via USNews, a $600,000 frog sculpture that lights up, gurgles “sounds of nature” and carries a 10-foot fairy girl on its back could soon be greeting Defense Department employees who plan to start working at the $700 million Mark Center in Alexandria, Va. this fall. That is unless a new controversy over the price tag of the public art doesn’t torpedo the idea.
Decried as wasteful spending that will be seen by just a couple thousand of daily workers who arrive on bus shuttles, foes have tried to delay the decision. But in an E-mail, an Army Corps of Engineers official said that the decision can’t be held up because it would impact completion of the huge project.
The schedule surprised some who thought that the costly artwork project was on the “back burner,” according to critic Donald Buch, a member of the mayor’s advisory committee overseeing the Mark Center project. Buch says he’s not opposed to art, just high-priced works that won’t be seen by many. He estimates that only 2,500 will see the artwork every day as they use the bus transfer station at the Mark Center. “Who the heck is going to see it,” he asked. “To spend six hundred grand to amuse the same people every day is nuts.”
According to the Corps, the artwork was the city’s idea. A city official, however, said that Alexandria officials didn’t demand art, but just asked that public artwork be included in the structure. What’s more, the official said that the $600,000 is federal money, and that no Alexandria funds will pay for the art.
Government spending is out of control. Instead of shelling out $600,000 for this piece of art, why not just build a pond and put some real frogs in it? Figure they can easily do that for $1,000 – much cheaper and probably more entertaining!