Montrealers Aren’t Happy About BGL’s $1 Million Public Art Ferris Wheel

La Vélocité des lieux under construction.
BGL, <em>La Vélocité des lieux</em> (2015).

BGL, La Vélocité des lieux (2015).

A bus stop at a busy Montreal intersection will soon be home to a 65-foot-tall public art installation that resembles a Ferris wheel. Sounds like a nice thing to look at which you’re waiting for the bus. The catch? It will cost the city approximately $1.1 million Canadian (about $840,000 USD) to build.

La Vélocité des lieux, designed by Canadian artist collective BGL (Jasmin Bilodeau, Sébastien Giguère, and Nicolas Laverdière), is the result of a 2012 design competition sponsored by the city. The installation is part of a massive $40 million (about $30.45 USD) renovation on the intersection of Henri Bourassa and Pie-IX boulevards in Montreal-Nord.

La Vélocité des lieux under construction.

La Vélocité des lieux under construction.

Montreal-Nord is home to largely lower and middle class residents, and currently boasts very little public art. City chancellor Chantal Rossi feels that the area has been overlooked when it comes to public art, and that they deserve to have beautiful things in their neighborhood, too. But that hasn’t stopped locals from jeering at both the concept and the high price of the installation.

“If I wanted to see a big wheel, I would go to La Ronde [the Canadian Six Flags],” a local told the Montreal Journal.

“$1.1 million for that?,” asked another resident in a CBS video interview.

BGL. Photo: FTP.

BGL.
Photo: FTP.

BGL’s profile been on the rise both in Canada and on the international art scene over the past few years, and the trio even represented their country at this year’s Venice Biennale. Their rise in popularity and visibility was part of the city’s reason for selection their design.

“People around the world will know that we have a BGL, and that is something special,” Rossi told CBS.

Construction is already underway on La Vélocité, and the sculpture will be inaugurated on September 19.

Debates over public art have been cropping up all over, including earlier this year in Long Island City, which resulted in a special program that will allow New Yorkers to voice their opinions on public art proposals.

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