Public Art Discussion to Follow Saturday Performance of Rising and Falling



Public art exists away from museum walls — in spaces shared by people with conflicting ideas, values and opinions — and is almost always at least a little controversial. That's what makes it so important. Rising and Falling is a new play about one particular public art controversy that immediately followed the 9/11 attacks. The play, presented by Rhubarb Theatre, debuts tonight at Darkhorse Theater. But you might want to wait till tomorrow (Saturday) night's 7:30 performance, which will be followed by a panel discussion about the role of public art that is sure to be fascinating.

Director Trish Crist tells the Scene that the two main topics of discussion will be "Who gets to decide what public art looks like?" and "Who does the artist have to please?" It should be an exciting conversation, and one that doesn't just stick to artistic merit, but also includes politics, public money and censorship. Participants include Metro Arts public art consultant Caroline Carlisle-Vincent, former Metro Arts director Sandra Duncan, artist Lanie Gannon (whose horse sculpture is on the pediment of Darkhorse Theater), Cheekwood registrar Kay Johnston, Parthenon executive director Wesley Paine, CEO of Nashville Arts magazine Paul Polycarpow, and artist and former Frist Center community relations manager Andee Rudloff. The discussion will be moderated by Caroline Davis, director of external relations at Watkins College of Art, Design & Film.

Read more about Rising and Falling in Martin Brady's Critic's Pick:

Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and reflect on this: The 10th anniversary of 9/11 is right around the corner. Every generation gets its life-changing event. Pearl Harbor. The JFK assassination. And the attack on the World Trade Center, which still seems more like a nightmare than something that actually could and did happen, altering American lives in so many ways. Nashville playwright Valerie Hart goes at those dark memories with a consciously different approach, offering a work “about art set against one of the largest tragedies of our time.” Her tale, inspired by the real-life Eric Fischl public arts controversy in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, is told to us by fictitious characters who explore policy issues about public art — how it is defined, how much should be spent on it, what is deemed acceptable or good, and how and when tragic events should be acknowledged on public property. There won’t be any overt sensationalism in this Rhubarb Theatre production, but the premise is ripe to evoke some serious reaction from a theater audience — and the timing couldn’t be more salient, as 9/11 memorials will soon be upon a sober public. Trish Crist directs, and the cast includes Phil Brady, Maggie Pitt, Wesley Paine, Clay Hillwig, Chaz Howard and Dan Millard. With a tip of its collective hat to those who serve, the company is offering two-for-one tickets to emergency responders — firefighters, police, EMTs and 911 operators — for any performance of the play. Just flash your badge. $12

The discussion will likely continue after Sunday's 2:30 matinee of the play, when the audience is invited to join the cast and crew at Estel Gallery for wine and snacks.

Add a comment