Everyone knows conservatives hate art. They especially hate contemporary art that was funded by any source other than one's parents' old money, especially if that source is the NEA. Well, a couple of Oakland-based artist-architects, Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello are catching heat from conservative windbags across the land because they just created an environmental installation at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden using 1,368 glass tubes that were salvaged from the former Solyndra plant, and conservatives also will every chance they can get before November to remind everyone about the Solyndra mess. The artwork, called SOL Grotto, is being dubbed by Fox News "the world’s most expensive work of art."
What they're referring to is of course not the actual, market value of the glass tubes, but the fact that the Obama Administration giving a $527 million loan to Solyndra in 2009 which will never get paid back because the Fremont-based company was woefully mismanaged and went out of business last year.
Anyway, SOL Grotto looks lovely, and you should all go see it. In the video above, artist Rael talks about the work and gives a swell tour. And in true Berkeley fashion, Botanical Garden director Paul Licht hopes the controversy will bring more people to look at the plants. Because he says the garden has "the leading collection in the country."