For 16 years, Seoul had a law that required new buildings to also install new public art. A lot of the resulting art was bad, so the law has been changed to allow builders to donate money instead of commissioning the art themselves.
“Unless citizens actively petition for the removal of any bad art that’s already installed, they’ll have to live with it,” said Yang Hyun-mi, a professor of culture and arts administration at Sangmyung University.
People again point to “Amabel” as a case in point. First installed in 1996 at a cost of $1.4 million, Stella’s work was subtitled “Flowering Structure.” The piece, the artist said, symbolized the endurance of steel and the role it has played in human endeavors.
Several years ago, however, officials responding to critics chose to plant trees to try to hide the sculpture after deciding the $400,000 cost to move it to Korea’s Museum of Modern Art was too expensive.