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Lesson Plans

Re: Disneyization

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sun, 16 Feb 1997 17:34:56 -0500 (EST)

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Impressionism, Cubism, Abstract Expressionism ........ and Disneyism.

If we are sharing Disney stories, here's mine:

Four years ago the City of Anaheim finished construction of its sports arena
that is now home to Disney's Mighty Ducks professional hockey team. The
arena cost $100 million, $1 million of which was earmarked for public art on
the grounds of the facility. Video artist Nam June Paik was one of three
artists chosen to create installation pieces. He built a marvelous
ceremonial arch of video monitors within the front entrance which is like a
beacon when it is turned on during evening events. A number of arts
professionals called it the most significant public art piece in Orange

For the first year, at Disney hockey games, the company set up camp around
the arch to hawk team merchandise (the Ducks are one of the most heavily
merchandised teams in sports, second only to the Chicago Bulls and Dallas
Cowboys). Literally, they circled the sculpture with tables and display
cases filled with hats, shirts, etc., proped items up on the sculpture, and
used the center of the arch to store empty boxes during the games. What made
matters worse was these tables were always crowded with people trying to buy
stuff. If you wanted to get any kind of view of the images on the monitors,
you had to stand in the merchandise line and wait to get close (imagine the
outcry if this happened to a sculpture in a museum and not a sports arena).
A friend who was close to the project told me that eventually a 'settlement'
was negotiated with the company whereby they would stay the heck away from it
in exchange for various concessions. Now patrons can appreciate "The Video
Arch" the way it was meant to be seen.

The two other commissions are equally wonderful and provocative. One pays
tribute to the games of the ancient Greeks using mosaic and the other uses
fiber-optics that change color based on your proximity to them. In an act of
corporate benevolence, Disney decided that it wanted to enhance the venue
with an additional public art sculpture. ..... which alot of people were
excited about until the company unveiled an 8-foot bronze of the team mascot
holding a hockey stick and plopped it in front of the building. True to
their style, they created a limited edition bronze statuette of the piece
that they were trying to sell for around $1000 ..... and, oh yes .... they
did have a few takers.

George Orwell was right, but its not the government that's out to own us
.... its the corporations.

"Art among a religious race produces relics;
among a military one, trophies;
among a commercial one, articles of trade."
- Henry Fuseli, painter (1741-1825)

-Geoff Black

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