Hands off public art, please

Many have spoken up on the issue of whether the public can touch public art ("Please Keep Off The Artworks", Life, April 10).

I feel that public art does not necessarily imply some form of interaction. Respect for objects in communal spaces, which includes public art, should come first.

Public artworks are often damaged because many people do not realise the effort taken to create the pieces. Although most people usually have no malicious intent in touching artworks, the aggregated impact of each action, even if it's merely taking a selfie as one pats the sculpture or leaning against it, contributes to the deterioration of the artwork.

There is the view that the nature of public art is for public enjoyment and boosting interaction among visitors. But not all public art has the aim of boosting connections. This is why there exist barriers and prominent signs that read "please do not touch the art".

Only when the artist wants his or her artwork to inspire human interaction, then can the public interact with the artwork and follow the sign that says, "Please touch the art".


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Tan Hui Ling


Why are people touching public artworks? I think the answer lies in the fact that the text on the sign telling people not to looks like it is in font size 10, which is minuscule in this context.

Surely "Please refrain from touching the sculptures" should be posted more prominently and in big bold letters - at least a font size 80?

Jane Iyer

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 16, 2016, with the headline 'Hands off public art, please'. Subscribe