August 6, By Hannah Wulkan
The city has begun pouring the foundation for the controversial pink sculpture planned for the median at the intersection of Jackson Avenue and 43rd Avenue.
The 8 ½-foot-tall sculpture, called the Sunbather, is being built in Brooklyn, and will likely be fully installed within the next two months, according to a representative from Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer’s office. The Court Square blog was first to report that construction had begun.
The DCLA selected the sculpture through its ‘Percent for Art’ initiative, which requires one percent of the budget for City-funded construction projects be spent on artwork for City facilities.
The “Sunbather,” by artist Ohad Meromi, was approved at the Design Commission meeting last October, but that came after nearly a year of debate over its design and cost.
The sculpture sparked a heated discussion when it was first proposed to Community Board 2 at a land use committee meeting in November 2014.
The Community Board committee members said they felt caught off guard by the proposal and were upset that they did not have more input in the design.
The DCLA then declined to make the renderings of the design public, claiming that presenting them at the committee meeting was adequate.
At the request of committee, the DCLA presented the designs to the full Community Board at their meeting in December.
Many were upset with the $515,000 price tag attached to the project, while others were upset with the design itself, including the bright pink color and its large size.
Some in the community were also upset that the design chosen was by an artist from Brooklyn, rather than a local LIC artist.
Since the uproar over the sculpture, Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer has passed legislation requiring the DCLA to provide advance notification on its website of projects it intends to work on, and to present the design at a public meeting in the community district where the project is to be installed.