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Stamp out ads on transit art

CBC reported this morning that the Toronto Transit Commission has been putting ads up on top of an abstract mural called Sliding Pi, by artist Arlene Stamp. Spokesperson Brad Ross confirmed they’ve been doing it for years, and the artist apparently doesn’t have much of a problem with the ad on her mural. It only made the news because a commuter complained.

The TTC has plenty of space for ads. They commissioned the mural and now they should respect it and not deface it with advertising. If they want to use the space for ads, they need to remove the mural first. It doesn’t matter how little regard they might have for the work they commissioned. The art should be respected.

CBC quoted Ross: “There are certain pieces of art that we couldn’t or wouldn’t cover but there are others that are more conducive to allowing for it temporarily.” I would like to know their criteria because this practice unacceptable.  Why do they think it’s reasonable to cover some art with ads but not other art? That’s absurd.

Here’s an alternate suggestion: sell ad space on sandwich signs to be worn by TTC CEO Andy Byford and spokesperson Brad Ross wherever they go.

This reminds of of the time I played in a Go tournament many years ago. The tournament was organized in rounds and after each round, the results were posted along with the new pairings. The organizer of the event posted the results by pinning them to a huge painting hanging on the wall by Montreal artist Guido Molinari. He didn’t realize the striped canvases were art. I said, excuse me but do you realize you’ve posted the results on a valuable painting by one of the best known artists in the country? He looked at me like I just flew in from another galaxy, looked at the painting, looked at me again, then silently took the pins out of the painting.

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