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What happens when public sculptures inevitably rust?


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#1 jumpinjivinjoe

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Posted 19 November 2011 - 07:53 PM

I have done a couple public sculptures that were fabricated from mild steel and coated with either industial enamel paint or powdercoat.

Without maintenence they will inevitably rust just like ANY other steel structure enduring the elements.

So I am curious what happens when public sculptures rust?

Cities/States don't have money to maintain bridges let alone sculptures; so by the time anyone notices a public sculpture rusting, it is beyond simple maintenence and in the realm of restoration.

Do any of you know of specific cases where a public sculpture needed to be restored or scrapped? Who's expense is it? Who carries out restoration? Who's at fault (if there is fault)?

#2 Rich Waugh

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 07:16 AM

I know of a case in my hometown, Boulder, CO, where a large public sculpture was made of Cor-Ten steel and placed in a prominent spot where two roads merged. Within a few years the rust stains drooling down from it had everything looking shabby and the public raised hell until it was scrapped. Tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars down the tube. Lack of foresight - it should have been made of stainless and placed in a park.
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#3 PTsideshow

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 09:39 AM

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This was repainted blue when the original color started to fade. The story goes some body approached an artist to do a sculpture reflecting that the city of Mount Clemens is the county seat. Little if no parameters on what etc. this is what he installed, a large part of the local artsy/fartsy community were not pleased. It is called the"County Seat" it is on a corner in the sidewalk area, always looks like a sign frame work, and even more so when it was a orange/reddish/primer looking color. I haven't been able to get the information on whether the3 above story is fact or an Urban fairy tale as I have gotten a number of like versions.

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Theses are repainted and graffiti removed by the art center and city when needed. As you can see some was removed.

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Rust and stainless mirror images, power washed on occasion, another on the corner near the court house.

My understanding is locally it is the art center that maintans them along with some unofficial help from the city or they did before the economy went in the sewer.
So far all of the dozen or so pieces are still in their assorted locations.

In the metro Detroit area, there have been a number of bronzes and bronze historical plaques that have gone missing for the locations in low light under patrolled areas and from all of the graveyards.

It would seem to me that unless the piece belongs to you and it is on loan to the village/city. Unless they have a maintenance agreement, as long as the piece has been payed for, there isn't much you can do for it no matter how much it hurts to see it rusting away! Posted Image

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