Best Of Tucson®

Best Arts Freak Show

The Mountain Avenue Public Art Controversy

Artist Paul Edwards intended his sculptures "Splash" and "Pipe With Flow 30" to evoke liquid rock and fit in with the predominantly brown and tan outdoor décor along Mountain Avenue between Speedway Boulevard and Grant Road. But a majority of neighbors complained that the public art project looked more like sculpted sewage (or CAP water, if there's a difference) and raised such a stink that the city agreed to flush the sculptures from the area. This story had it all: an artist so involved in his work that he didn't anticipate the most obvious public reaction, a public too literal-minded to handle concepts more advanced than dogs playing poker, and city officials (in this case, principally Kathleen Dunbar) who pay no attention to public art until constituents complain, and then side with the largest number of voters. An exotic intellectual, midget aesthetes and a contortionist councilwoman--toss in a bearded lady, and you've got yourself a freak show!