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Melbourne’s David-On-The-Lawn

A few weeks ago, my sister begged that my Dad call the police because our neighbors were playing some music, probably for a party for the high school graduate in their house. The obnoxiously loud music continued until roughly 12:30 in the morning. We all have neighbors, some of whom may be irksome at times, whether it be because of loud music or their lack of control over their pets. But homeowners in a quiet suburb of Melbourne, Australia have a different category of problem altogether. In Caroline Springs, a nice little Australian neighborhood, someone has decided it would be very nice to put up some artwork in their front yard. A thirteen-foot replica of Michelangelo’s David, to be exact.

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Recently, there have been complaints about it, and I completely understand why. I understand that it is a thing of beauty, one of the most iconic artworks ever created. I’ve seen the real deal myself. But your front lawn isn’t a museum. That sort of thing is for the backyard, where you can appreciate it. Now everyone who visits Melbourne, which is quite a few people, is going to be driving through in herds to get a look at Melbourne’s David-On-The-Lawn. However, in this case, I don’t know who to side with on this issue. And here’s why.

If you’re a fan of George Carlin like me, you’ll probably remember he once talked about a new state of mind that a lot of people have about their property or their neighborhood. NIMBY, which stands for Not In My Backyard. Well, the residents of Caroline Springs have caused quite a hassle over the statue, perfectly embodying the NIMBY mindset. The neighbors have hurled a seemingly never-ending slew of adjectives at the statue, calling it “vulgar”, “an eyesore”, “inappropriate for a residential area”, even going as far as calling the statue “offensive”. To the residents of Caroline Springs, Australia: calm down. It’s just a statue. What are your reasons? The neighbors have complained to the City Council that it will decrease property values, as well as lead to an increase vandalism and neighborhood traffic. And those are some good reasons to have the statue taken down. But when the same person who said the statue was vulgar also said that “it’s ruined the street,” that’s probably a step too far. As I said before, it’s Michelangelo’s David, one of the most iconic artworks ever created; but yet they’re reacting like their new neighbors erected a statue of Heinrich Himmler in their front yard. So now, I have no idea who to side with. Yeah, the neighbors have good standing for their complaint, but they didn’t have to say it was vulgar; or tacky; or offensive. It’s just someone expressing their interest in Renaissance art in the middle of suburban Melbourne. All I know is that I now have another thing to add to my to-do list should I ever visit Australia: Sydney Opera House, Great Barrier Reef… The Melbourne David.

About Nathan Scheer

Nathan Scheer is contributor to The Artoholic and a webmaster for TheArtExperts.org, who is currently studying History and International Studies at Elon University in North Carolina. He has also worked for Rehs Galleries, Inc. and Rehs Contemporary Galleries, Inc., which specialize in 19th and 20th Century European paintings and contemporary academic paintings, respectively, as well as Christie's Rockefeller Center.

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