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Is sculpture art or junk?

Calgary's mayor says controversy over a $500,000 public art installation has convinced him the city's art policy needs to change.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi admits he hasn't personally seen Bowfort Towers, a steel and rock sculpture by New York artist Del Geist, and hasn't formed a personal opinion on it yet.

He's calling harsh criticism of the project "unfair" and is comparing it to a "lynch mob."

Earlier this week, some critics complained the towering sculpture appears to emulate Indigenous burial scaffolding, adding Geist should have collaborated with local elders and artists.

Nenshi says the piece was thoroughly vetted by aboriginal experts.

Currently, all public art is chosen by a panel of seven members, with six of those being civilian volunteers. The mayor says that isn’t enough of a conversation with Calgarians. 

City councillor Sean Chu, a vocal opponent of public funding for the arts, has called the sculpture "the worst kind of wasteful spending of tax dollars" while many on social media have criticized the look of the piece. One person suggested it belonged in a recycling bin.



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