People can't stop complaining about the $5 million chandelier under a bridge in Vancouver
A luxury residential developer may be reconsidering its decision to install a nearly eight-metre, $5-million spinning chandelier under Vancouver's Granville Street bridge.
People have a lot to say about Westbank Corp.'s "art installation" — what at first seemed like a publicity stunt for its forthcoming development — not only because of the opulent excess it represents amid a city dealing with a housing crisis, but because it happens to hang in a space that was once occupied by the homeless.
- #Vancouver in a nutshell -— Arturo Mendez 🇲🇽🇨🇦 (@arturomendz) December 3, 2019
In 2017 a total of 3,605 people were found homeless in Metro Vancouver. Last week a 4.8 Million Dollars "Spinning Chandelier" was installed under Granville Bridge. pic.twitter.com/oLQnaW0yTR
The underpass serves as shelter for individuals experiencing homelessness, who have historically set up camp in the industrial area. Many residents are saying the chandelier is tasteless and tone-deaf, like the equivalent of giant middle finger to the city's impoverished.
Just think how many art & music programs they could have funded with that money if they are looking at this as " art". The amount of food it would have provided to food banks, help for the homeless. Training in a trade it could provide. Yeah it is flipping the bird— GrumpyGrannie (@grumpy_grannie) December 2, 2019
The piece of art was actually mandated by the city in order for Westbank to rezone for its nearby Vancouver House condo project, which will be 52 storeys and has units going for nine million dollars. The company has a history of incorporating public art into a number of its buildings in the area.
The construction giant will also have to pay more than $21 million in fees to the city, and offer 106 new rental units as part of the deal. Such arrangements of "selling" rezoning are not rare.
The chandelier coalesced and united previously unorganized opposition & created common ground & unity by serving as a symbol for everything the people hated & knew needed to change — is a sentence I would not be surprised is written by future historian of Vancouver.— Gabrielle Peters she/her♿️ (@mssinenomine) December 4, 2019
The "art," which some are joking may start a class war, was designed by B.C. artist Rodney Graham and is made of more than 3,000 kg of faux crystals and stainless steel.
Fun fact about Vancouver’s newest public art installation - each crystal on the $4.8Million chandelier under the Granville Bridge represents 3 homeless people in Vancouver who probably could’ve been helped with a portion of that money, but didn’t. Isn’t art NEAT? It SPINS! 👎 pic.twitter.com/aAuC1x5bfg— 🤶🏽🎄vanessa doban🎅🏼🎁 (@vanessadoban) November 30, 2019
In response to the backlash, Westbank said in a statement to media that it doesn't have to "choose between contributing to social infrastructure or making other contributions, whether artistic or cultural, that are seen as less functional" and that it doesn't see this as an "either/or situation."
Regardless of the intention behind the fixture, response remains divisive and largely negative. There have even been petitions launched that argue that the chandelier — typically a signifier of affluence — is not in fact art at all.
Meanwhile in #Canada's #Vancouver, where there's a raging rental and housing crisis, they buy a 4.8 million dollar chandelier. Of all the unuseful things in the universe.... a chandelier.— centeringpendulum (@centeringpendu1) December 3, 2019
This goes to show you that being ruled by wealthy/disconnected= badhttps://t.co/hnCkIzcFij
One thing is for certain: the piece is drawing a lot of attention. Those who want to see the controversial artifact in-person can watch it drop, spin and illuminate under Vancouver's Granville Street bridge at noon and 9 p.m. daily.
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