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Sculpture Erected on Jackson Avenue to Protest Another Sculpture

By Jeanmarie Evelly | December 12, 2014 12:21pm
 The artwork takes aim at the costs of a city's plan to erect another sculpture nearby.
Jackson Avenue Sculpture
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LONG ISLAND CITY — A pricy pink sculpture has some residents seeing red.

A $515,000 plan to erect a sculpture of a pink reclining figure by artist Ohad Meromi on Jackson Avenue as part of a public art program, has drawn fire from some residents, with one of them creating a protest sculpture of their own.

An angular structure painted with vibrant colors and wooden hearts appeared this week on Jackson Avenue near 23rd Street, near where the Department of Cultural Affairs is planning to install Meromi's sculpture on on Jackson Avenue at 43rd Avenue.

A sign on it critiqued the cost of the city's project, which it identified as $450,000, though city officials say it will actually run $515,000.

"This is not against the artist. It is against the misuse of our tax dollars," the sign on the protest sculpture read.

"It cost $350 dollars to make this sculpture which we are donating to Long Island City and there are many local artists that would do the same so this money could be spent on something constructive like education."

It's unclear who was responsible for the piece, which was placed on the sidewalk on Jackson Avenue near the Court Square subway station.

The art being planned for Jackson and 43rd Avenues just short distance away is part of the Department of Cultural Affairs' Percent for Art program, which is based on a 1982 law that requires a portion of certain city construction projects' budgets be used for artwork, according to the program's website.

The project will cost $515,000, according to the Department of Cultural Affairs, which includes general expenses, fabrication, installation and a 20 percent artists' fee.

At a Queens Community Board 2 meeting last week, Percent for Art director Sara Reisman told the board the funding comes out of the budget of the Jackson Avenue streetscape project, which added lighting, plants and other upgrades to the roadway.

"All the details of the project are embedded in this $515,000 project, which comes out of the streetscape improvement, not in addition to," she told the board.

Reisman and the artist, who attended the CB2 meeting, said the final details of the sculpture are still being worked out but that it will be made of bronze and painted with car paint in a shade of pink to bring color to the intersection.

Some at the CB2 meeting took issue with the color, with one person saying it was "too much" for the area.

The Department of Cultural Affairs said in a statement that the design is still in development, and that the artist will take CB2's feedback into consideration.

"Community feedback is integral to Percent for Art's goal of creating vibrant, engaging works of art that enliven neighborhoods and imbue our public spaces with energy and a unique sense of place," the agency said.

The final design will be reviewed by the Public Design Commission. It would be installed in about 18 months, Reisman said last week.