'Porcelain Project' Proponent Persists
• Proceeds Could Fund Wastewater Plant
BY BILL KOENEKER
It seemed apparent from the last time when the Malibu City Council was asked to vote on the "The Porcelain Project," a planned art exhibition of recycled toiletry objects, that members really did not want to go on record approving or disapproving the use of discarded sinks, toilets and urinals from the remodeling of the library for an art exhibit celebrating the 20th anniversary of the city's incorporation.
However, it appears Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich, who previously told the council members she wanted to organize the community art project, wants to force the issue and is again asking council members to approve the Porcelain Project or what some wags have derisively called the Potty Project.
Conley Ulich next week is asking the council to give an official endorsement by agreeing to accept the proceeds of the community art project to apply towards the cost of the city's planned Civic Center wastewater treatment facility and approve the use of two of the art pieces for display at the Michael Landon Center at Bluffs Park for nearly three weeks in April.
At the previous meeting, Councilmember Lou La Monte cautioned the city could become the "butt" of every joke by taking on such irreverence when it was trying to improve its image, especially in light of spending upwards of a $100,000 by hiring its own publicist for an image makeover.
"We are trying to upgrade our image. I'm cautioning you," he added.
The proposal will "transform" 20 pieces of porcelain restroom fixtures (sinks, urinals, and toilets) that have been recycled from the library reconstruction project and make them into "works of art."
Councilmember Laura Rosenthal had wanted to discuss another art program, though she commented positively about the recycling elements of the Porcelain project.
Conley Ulich had said the history and future of Malibu has always been connected with sewers and toilets.
"The city was founded because we did not want sewers in Malibu to control growth. It is the very representation of history and fate of Malibu. The toilet is an integral part of our city," she had explained.
Conley Ulich went even further in her analysis comparing the situation to the Dada movement of long ago. "We can help heal the city and do what Marcel Duchamp did in his seminal piece of the Dada movement," she had said.
Mayor John Sibert had said he wanted it to be clear that the only action the council was taking was approving Legacy Park as the location for the city's 20th anniversary bash.
This time Conley Ulich appears to no longer be pushing for the city's birthday bash collaboration but had picked out other dates in April at Bluffs Park and for display in the Art Barn in the city-owned Malibu Lumber Yard shopping center.