Damned faint praise: A herd of Pegasuses...Pegasi...whatever...have started cropping up on downtown streets, drawing swift reaction from some of our more aesthetically picky co-workers, specifically: "Gack! What is that?"

"That" is the first among a planned 200 brightly decorated, 6-foot-tall, fiberglass winged horses being placed about the city center by Dallas Soars!, a public-private partnership endorsed by the mayor that aims to raise money for the arts. Anyone can buy unpainted copies of either of two versions of the statues. For $6,000 you can decorate them yourself or have your own artist do it; pay $8,000, and Dallas Soars! will provide an artist to dress up your pony, says Karin Posvar, Dallas Soars! spokeswoman. The statues will be displayed until February, after which the owners can keep them or contribute them to an auction to raise money for Adopt-a-Monument or Arts Partners. The former group preserves public art in Dallas; the latter is an arts education program.

Backed by the mayor. Public art. A feel-good civic project. The Dallas Observer being what it is, and Buzz being Buzz, of course we have to say something snide about this. Here goes: Buzz really likes the horsies. They're kinda pretty.

Let us 'splain why that's not good: Buzz is wholly unqualified to be a newspaper art critic. We lack the necessary education possessed by people who can use words like "schema" and "gestural" without feeling like an ass (a course in art history at a junior college, to be specific). We buy posters from the Internet and museum gift shops. In a word, Buzz is a Philistine, and we like the handful of pegawhatzits so far on display outside The Crescent and in the Republic Bank lobby on St. Paul. Sorry, Dallas Soars!

One is covered with a mosaic of bright beads; another is painted with moon, stars, sun and clouds. They're a relief in a downtown whose color scheme runs the spectrum from off-white to brown. Posvar says other statues are being covered with everything from tiles to blown glass.

To which Buzz says, "Cool." We look forward to seeing them and hope some of the herd stays downtown permanently. But really, Dallas Soars!, for the sake of Art, maybe you should consider having someone lop off a horse's head or wrap it in barbed wire or dip it in shit. Public art that pleases the eye of the hoi polloi, like Buzz, can't be good.

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Patrick Williams is editor-in-chief of the Dallas Observer.
Contact: Patrick Williams

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