Wednesday, June 8, 2011

One Hundred Foot Line

[Somehow Blogger set this to post at 11:58pm (midnight) instead of 12:00pm (noon). Sorry about the delay.]

As promised in the post about Nepean Point, here is a photo of the controversial sculpture One Hundred Foot Line by New York artist Roxy Paine. Part of the controversy, aside from the regular complaining about the National Gallery of Canada spending money on art by non-Canadian artists, was a series of complaints by a certain Ottawa Citizen columnist that At 10 storeys, it screams and distracts from the star structures of that area, the Parliament Buildings. It is completely out of context.

However, As I mentioned in a photo in the previous post, about the only place you can see both the Paine sculpture and the Parliament buildings is from Nepean Point, and even then they're in opposite directions.

As for "out of context", nearly any photo of the Line from Nepean Point shows a number of other vertical interventions far less attractive (though admittedly less expensive) than the sculpture:

Just to give you an example of how obtrusive they are, I had to put my camera on a timer and stick it out as far as I could reach on my tripod just to get the Line and the National Art Gallery atrium in the same shot without a post or lamp in the way. You can just make out the tip of the restroom facility on the right at the base of the hill in both photos.

I think it looks pretty good, actually. It pretty much dominates the skyline but there's nothing else of visual interest in this direction from which it might distract. At any other angle (i.e. at ground level), the only thing you can see beyond it is trees and sky. And on a day like this one, it quite effectively disappears into the sky as though it went all the way up to the clouds.


  1. It's not so bad from the ground, and I've seen sone pretty stunning photos. But from the river I agree strongly with the Ottawa Citizen columnist. It looks very out of place. I was prepared to like it until I saw it from that vantage point.

  2. It's easy to see the 100 foot line from the Quebec side of the river.

  3. I actually had forgot about it until I was behind the Parliament Buildings a few weeks ago, where you can see it really well.

    I think it adds to the hill, even if it is not as interactive as Maman is.

  4. Standing right under it is pretty amazing, skylines aside, though.