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It may very well be the first public sculpture that commemorates the act of taking a selfie. The Houston suburb of Sugar Land recently installed a bronze statue of two girls grinning as one raises her smartphone to snap a photograph as part of a 10-piece, citywide public art donation intended to “provide and/or support activities and facilities that enrich the artistic, cultural, educational, and historical character of Sugar Land.”
The pair isn’t posing at just any place, either, but in Sugar Land Town Square’s public plaza. They sorority squat slightly just a stone’s throw away from the steps of City Hall so the stately building serves as their backdrop. As per a municipal press release, the statue is meant to “show activities common in the plaza” — which gives you a good sense of how people apparently like to spend their time outdoors. Nearby, city officials also installed another bronze sculpture of a guitar player sitting on the edge of a fountain.
Of course, people have already started taking selfies with the sculpture (or photographs of friends pretending to squeeze into the bronze girls’ frame). Others, however, have criticized the display for wasting taxpayers’ money on meaningless public art; the City of Sugar Land has responded to such concerns on Twitter, emphasizing that the two statues are part of a donation. Local resident Sandy Levin had actually offered it to the city, and it had received approval from two citizen committees as well as from City Council. The work’s provenance and artist remain unclear, although it’s safe to say it was created in the past decade.
“People seem to be very focused on selfies, but it is part of the larger sculpture donation, so I think seeing it in the context of the full donation will probably please people,” Lindsay Davis, Sugar Land’s cultural arts manager, told KTRH.
With officials showing no indication of being swayed by public criticism, the sculpture will remain in the plaza as a fitting companion to the dramatic equestrian monument dedicated to Father of Texas, Stephen F. Austin. Hyperallergic will keep an eye out for the inevitable human selfie-pedes to come.
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