Opinion: Harvard could help Palo Alto with its bad art

"Go Mama" on California Avenue, left, and “Rrrun” on Alma Street are two sculptures Harvard should consider taking from Palo Alto. Post photos.


Daily Post Editor

The story of the ugly Digital DNA egg in Palo Alto’s Lytton Plaza had a happy ending when Harvard gratefully accepted the sculpture.

A Harvard spokesman put out a written statement saying, “We feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to display this important work on our campus.” (I’ll bet the reason the spokesman issued a written statement was because if he had to say it out loud, he would have started laughing.)

But now that Harvard has taken the egg off of our hands (and our faces), the Palo Alto Art Commission ought to ask if that university is interested in any other ugly Palo Alto sculptures.

Harvard could take “Go Mama,” the hideous sculpture of a doll with a child’s face in the stomach that mars the corner of California Avenue and Ash Street.

Maybe we could interest them in the sculpture of the car with legs in Jerry Bowden Park at Alma Street and Oregon Expressway?

Editor Dave Price’s column appears on Mondays. His email address is [email protected].


  1. Hope these sculptures stay. Their aesthetic value is arguable however I got used to them, they are part of the landscape and I will miss them if they disappear.

  2. Eli, I guess you’re saying that no matter how ugly something is, once you become familiar with it, you don’t want it taken away. I understand that, but don’t agree. I think we need a different set of eyes involved in deciding what will become public art…the art our tax dollars fund. I don’t care what a private citizen or company does in terms of art. That’s none of my business. But when my taxes pay for it, I think it should be appealing to most people. Sometimes Palo Alto misses the mark, like with the “Go Mama” sculpture. On the other hand, the art at the new Mitchell Park Library represents a range of styles, all of it interesting and attractive. The Art Commission has so many “hits” and “misses” that it should be reaching out more to the community to get their assistance in selecting art.

  3. I personally really like Rrrun and would be disappointed to see it removed.

    I can see the merits of public art appealing to a majority, but I also worry that standard could limit the artistic creativity of the pieces.

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