Murals on Overpasses

Overpasses are an eyesore, but is painting them with dragons, unidentifiable animals, polka dots, and floral patterns a way of making them any less unappealing?

Who’s doing the painting? Who’s paying for it? Surely it isn’t prisoner labor. I appreciate the effort but can’t help but sense the utter futility in continuing painting them, but can’t come up with any alternatives. What’s next, murals of country vistas and waterfalls? Maybe Britto can chip in with his own pop art overpass.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Murals on Overpasses

  1. James Wilkins

    I actually think it is a great opportunity for public art. It does have a precedence in Latin America. The curation does seem to leave something to be desired. I would like to create a re-interpretation of highways as art that would let the drivers experience of the roads be transformed.

    [URL=http://imageshack.us][IMG]http://img71.imageshack.us/img71/6038/forforumjx8.jpg[/IMG][/URL]
    Shot at 2007-07-30

  2. The cool thing is that students (I’m assumming Middle School) helped paint the ones on 8th street (the mangrove saplings on the columns – third picture).

    I noticed that one day the outlines were done and a few weeks later on a Saturday afternoon, the entire block was filled with students each doing their own thing with the outlines.

  3. C,
    That would explain why I can’t identify some of the figures. I’m glad that middle school students are doing their part to help beautify the city’s ugliest aspects (or at least attempt to), but I’m not convinced these are community service hours well spent. Thanks for the update Chris!

    J,
    I think I’m being a little unreasonable here. I agree that this is ultimately positive, but the problem with outdoor art in overpasses is its susceptibility to vandalism. I’m at a loss when it comes to alternative solutions for making these overpasses more aesthetically appealing, hence the unreasonability of my criticism.

  4. Patrick W.

    “…the problem with outdoor art in overpasses is its susceptibility to vandalism.”

    To a vandal, any surface is a “canvas” for his marks and won’t care if it’s already unmarked or previously decorated. Typically, vandals are gang members “tagging” what they consider their territory. Anything is susceptible to vandalism.

    Graffiti artists, on the other hand, fancy themselves as “artists” and usually will not mark up someone else’s creation. Last I drove by the Biscayne Blvd/36th Street overpass, there was little vandalism and no graffiti art.

    I’d hope that the city or state isn’t using public funds of such things. But if they are, at least it’s for something that does some good. God knows the other crap they waste our money on.

    In the end, I think such decoration is a good thing. At heart, people like beauty. Whatever can be done to make the nastiness of an overpass less severe is fine by me.

  5. I see what you’re saying regarding the distinction between the types of vandalism. My concern, like yours, was the thought of public funds being used in such a way. I, too, haven’t seen any of the overpass murals get vandalized, so it may actually work as a vandalism deterrent.

    Regardless, after further consideration, I agree that these mural are generally positive.

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