Well, at least in the case of public art, which is what this post is about.
Colossal works of art can’t help but seize attention, because nothing says “look here!” than sheer humongous-ness. And once captured, our attention is held captive, pinned, as if by a pro-wrestler. They make bold statements that provoke deep primal responses and reflective thought.
Size makes viewers feel small. We like to think we have the run of the world, and we have the tendency to delude ourselves into a mistaken sense of power and control. The larger-than-us proportions of public art can swallow us up, and serve as a reminder that we are small. And so we are called to awe.
Also, size generally comes with not a small amount of strength, making these huge art pieces all tough and macho. They won’t dissolve in rain or snow. They won’t wither away when you touch them, nor will they blanch at UV radiation or camera flash. Eventually they will fade, disintegrate and be taken down, but that’s okay. They let us go ahead and ooh and aah, and lean on them and touch them. They are that approachable and accessible!