Apparently snark, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
Behold the public opinions about the newest piece of public art in Sugar Land, Texas.
“I’m embarrassed for everyone.”
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“Makes me really sad.”
Why the snark? Because the bronze statue now standing in front of city hall is of two girls taking a selfie.
Here’s how ABC 10 in Sacramento, Calif., describes the installation:
“The statue shows two girls posing for a selfie, and it has pretty much everything you could expect from two girls posing for a selfie. To run through the checklist:
“Infinity scarf. Check.
“Rain boots. Check.
“Slightly-above-eye-level phone positioning for optimal downward angle. Check.
“The quasi-squat, because standing normally just doesn’t cut it. Check.”
The statue was donated to the city, part of a 10-piece collection from Sugar Land resident Sandy Levin.
The selfie statue, and one of a seated man playing a guitar, were installed in the city’s public plaza representing “activities that occur in the Square,” reads a description on the city’s website.
Two committees of citizens reviewed and approved the donated artworks in 2014, Sugar Land officials say, before the City Council approved their installation.
The statues haven’t been officially dedicated yet. But reaction came swiftly once they went up.
Responding to the uproar, city officials reiterated that the statue was donated.
“These were part of a resident of Sugar Land’s desire to give the city ten particular sculptures that he funded, to help add a little more life to some of the parks and public spaces,” Lindsay Davis, the city’s cultural arts manager, told KTRH News Radio in Houston.
To people angry over the “message” a selfie statue sends, Davis said it’s simply meant to depict something people commonly do in the plaza.
“People seem to be very focused on selfies, but it is part of the larger sculpture donation, so I think seeing it in the context of the full donation will probably please people,” she said.
The Daily Beast launched a defense of the statue, pointing out that the “grandest classical statuary has long celebrated the self.”
Two words: Mount Rushmore.
“Those bemoaning art that glorifies our narcissistic, social media-obsessed culture should consider that, historically, most ‘meaningful’ statues of people ... were monuments to the self,” noted the Daily Beast.
“Ancient kings immortalized in marble or stone were arguably even more vain than the average millennial.”
The Daily Beast also found it ironic that the loudest complaints are coming from the selfie generation itself, quoting one young woman who wrote on Facebook that “this is why people hate the young generation! Stupid things like this. Good god help us.”
Perhaps, though, youngsters doth protest too much.
As much as people are complaining about the statue, lots of people are — you guessed it — taking selfies with it.