Writing, Curating and Lecturing on Visual Arts, Public Space and Architecture

Public Art at Schools

Artist Edith Karlson and her galleriest Olga Temnikova asked me to join them on their public meeting with the staff and pupils of Haapsalu State High School on the 9th of May 2014. Edith had won the one percent for art competition to install a sculpture/lamp in the foyer of the school-building. Some people in the school didn't like it and the whole process of procuring art which the locals were against turned into a huge local issue which was on the headlines for months. Edith and Olga went there to "ease things down" and asked me to come with them to give a little lecture about the history of public art at school buildings.

I don't think I have ever given a talk in a more vicious atmosphere. Once we stepped into the school we were caught by the video cameras of a leading 7 o'clock reporter who quite aggressively approached Edith to ask about how does she feel to be an author of a work of art everyone's against it etc. The whole thing was so absurdly and meanly planned (while Edith was trying to pull herself together for the out-of-nowhere-interview dozens of pupils were pointing hands at her behind the scenes!) that even many years later I can't believe that it really happened! After the shock TV interview we were shown our way to the auditorium where we were joined by a couple of teachers to talk about what we wanted to talk. Very, very disturbing and sad event, but I think that in the end it helped a bit. I was amazed at Edith's resilience.









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