Gestalten recently published a new book of Brad Downey‘s work: Spontaneous Sculptures. The book focuses on a series that Brad calls his spontaneous sculptures (of course): A mostly illegal and non-permissioned series of work where Brad interacts with public spaces somehow. While the book of course includes some academic-sounding texts and interviews with Brad, I found the real appeal here to be seeing all of this work in one place. Too often, Brad Downey is written off as nothing more than a dickish prankster when you see one piece on its own, but he’s much more than that. Yes, he’s at least an impish prankster, but Spontaneous Sculptures is a reminder that Brad is also a brilliant artist whose work encourages unfettered interaction with public spaces. If that occasionally results in a broken window or two, so be it.
Of course, not every sculpture Brad does is brilliant. Much of it is far from that, but within the context of an entire book, that’s okay. Even a boring or “failed” Spontaneous Sculpture is going to change public space in some way.
I can’t recommend this book highly enough to those who aim to view their world with more of twinkle in their eye and the inspiration needed to make change. It made me want to walk around and make the world a more interesting place, or at least a different one.
Photos by Brad Downey from “Spontaneous Sculptures” copyright Gestalten 2011