Wednesday, July 08, 2009


I do have an excuse for my long silence for once. My internet's been down. And now I'm working on a couple of things that aren't leaving me much spare time.

Meanwhile, though, why don't you drop by casa Borealis for the latest installment of Eric's brilliant-if-too-fitful series Hideous Public Art:
This monumental bronze excrescence is called "Universal Man" and was created by Gerald Gladstone in 1976. According to Wikipedia, Mr. Gladstone frequently complained that "his work was misundertood by the Canada Council's arts bureaucracy" - quite the statement considering the hideous art inflicted on the public by Canada's "arts bureaucracy" over the years.

It originally stood at the base of the CN Tower to "give a balance of human scale" to the world's tallest free-standing structure. It was removed in 1987 and re-erected in 1994 in a parking lot on the west side of the Yorkdale shopping mall, where it was unveiled by North York Mayor Mel Lastman (himself a living monument to bad taste). According to the accompanying plaque, Universal Man was created "to symbolize the earthbound human energies reaching towards a higher universal knowledge".

Here it is in its current location, reaching towards a higher universal knowledge outside the entrance to the Bay.


Poor Universal Man. Erected to give a human scale to Toronto's most prominent structure, removed from public view for seven years and then installed ignominiously in a parking lot outside a suburban shopping mall. Is this the fate of western culture?
The whole of Eric's HPA series is, it seems to me, the best kind of blogging and I recommend it highly. My particular favourite is this one.