Controversial sculptures get mixed reviews


Controversy about art is not a bad thing. Just the opposite says the avant-garde arts community. It stimulates discourse. 

If that’s the goal, the sculptures created by well-known street artist Mark Jenkins – and recently positioned on the lawn in front of City Hall – are doing their job. 

Some passersby call the figures creepy. Some love it. Others just don’t like any art on the lawn, even if temporary, considering it a diminution of City Hall.

Varied opinions are being logged in on the city’s Facebook page

“It’s art guys!” posted Shane Townley, artist and founder of “Fantastic. Did its job.”

Cheryl Heichemer disagreed.

“I can appreciate art and its message, but the location is completely inappropriate for this,” posted Heichemer. “Better in a museum with a fully noted write up.

“This is beyond creepy for so many reasons – especially for a public and highly trafficked area. Please reconsider this ASAP.”

Controversial sculptures men

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Installation by artist Mark Jenkins will be on display until Oct 18

The installation, titled “The Caretakers,” has five characters all of which relate to lawn games and activities in the age of global warming. The characters’ faces are hooded from the sun. 

One of the characters is toasting his hotdog in the sun. Another is playing horseshoes. A third is vacuuming the lawn. The fourth is aiming a bow armed with a plunger at the fifth figure, who has an apple on his head, a reference to the Swiss revolutionary William Tell. 

The sculptures are made of concrete and resin and will be on display for up to three months, the third in a series of temporary installations approved by the Arts Commission and the City Council.

“At first I commented that I wasn’t crazy about it, because I didn’t realize it was a temporary installation,” posted Vicki High. “As a temporary exhibit, I think it’s great!”

Jill Doran looks forward to the next project about three month down the road. 

She supports the city’s open mind to different concepts in art and has no objection to this exhibition’s theme, but she thinks it missed its mark.

“The Caretakers” was funded by Laguna Beach’s lodging establishments and will be on display until October 18.

Subsequent installations to be installed outside City Hall will vary in genre and duration and will be curated to bring variety and experience, according to the city’s statement.