Ohad Meromi’s “The Sunbather” – the artwork being protested – ruffled feathers when Community Board 2 got a look at its designs at their last meeting. Many complained that it is too large and too bright.
The protest piece is itself a brightly painted sculpture, though squat and angular where Meromi’s is stretched and curvy.
It includes a plaque reading, “this sculpture is in protest of the spending of $450,000 on a sculpture to be placed on Jackson Ave in Long Island City. This is not against the artist. It is against the misuse of our tax dollars. It cost $350 dollars to make this sculpture, which we are donating to Long Island City.”
Meromi’s sculpture will in fact cost even more, around $515,000, according to the Dept. of Cultural Affairs. This money came out of the budget for the Jackson Avenue streetscaping project, which ran about $45 million, through a City-mandated program called Percent for Art.
With taxpayer money at stake, it’s easy to understand why the community expects their wants to be taken into consideration for the art to be installed.
However, if what the community wants is high quality public art, we here at QConf have a little critique of our own: A for effort, protest sculptors, but you might want to leave the art to the artists.