One more reason to hike up to this picturesque hilltop town: a street sculpture exhibition
Street sculpture shows are very much in fashion. Over the last 20 years or so, many towns have hit upon the idea of hosting a festival by inviting artists or museums to exhibit some of their works on public squares and thoroughfares.
Such festivals generally provide good copy for the press: they make perfect “and finally … ” items on the TV evening news, and editors are grateful if they have photos to stick on to their front pages which are more cheerful than shots of earthquake victims in Nepal or Mediterranean boat people. Sculpture festivals attract attention and tourists, so everybody wins: the artists, the towns, the local businesses.
From an aesthetic viewpoint, however, the results are frequently hit-and-miss. Street sculpture festivals only make sense when the townscape and the work of art have something to say about and to one another, when they perform like instruments in an orchestra, otherwise the experience is like listening to two tunes at the same time.
Few festival towns have the means to commission pieces for a certain environment, so in most cases, existing works are acquired and then put somewhere where they are deemed to fit in. Who decides, I wonder, what goes where? Ideally, this should be the artist, or at least a curator who knows what he/she is doing.
In practice, I suspect, it often is the town mayor. (“I think this would look splendid in front of my brother’s bakery. Any objections?”) Hit-and-miss, as I said.
Something else: street art festivals generally – from my own experience – work best when the town is already beautiful, even without any art works to enhance their visual appeal. Who said that life was fair?
One festival that ticks all the right boxes is the Monumental exhibition in Mougins near Cannes which has been organized by the municipal administration and the distinguished Musée d’Art Classique de Mougins (MACM).
We told you last week how to get to this picturesque hilltop village, either by hiking or by bus or by a combination of the two.
If you are in the area and want to go, you have until 30 June. (Mougins will still be there after that, of course, only the exhibition will close down.) For everybody else: here is a taste of what there is to see.
Monumental in Mougins
Have you ever visited a town for its street art exhibit?