Thursday, October 15, 2009

Challenges of Public Art Illuminated

brick at Norwood, 241 w 14th st

Everything looked good.

Location: Norwood, a club with a pro-arts mission, housed in a handsome historic residence on 14th st.
Context: aiop09, an event with a mission echoing my own interest in public work.
Organizers: aiop09, facilitating outreach, press, etc.
Fabricator: Let There Be Neon, excellent, friendly, a resumé of art neon big and small.

But New York's Landmarks Preservation Commission has spies sniffing out possible violations in town, and has called for the deinstallation of brick. The Andrew Norwood House, at 241 w14th St, is a landmarked structure. Apparently "neon signs," art or not, temporary or not, must be submitted for approval, and how arduous a process is that? Ah, the power of the "small-minded administrator," to quote an anonymous source.

In an ironic parallel to the death of the housing frenzy, this episode of brick idolatry has been extinguished.

My thanks to Ed Woodham, Radhika Subramaniam, Erin Donnelly, and the aiop09 crew; Jeff at Let There Be Neon; and especially Alan Linn and Steve Ruggi at Norwood. A quiet nod to Melissa Goldstein who was there at the conception of this project several years ago.


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