Dec. 8, 2014 By Christian Murray
The controversial pink sculpture proposed to go up on the median on Jackson Avenue appears to be a done deal—despite the director of the city agency in charge of the project saying otherwise.
Sara Reisman, the director of Percent for Art, assured Community Board 2 members Thursday that their feedback would be taken into consideration in terms of the 8 ½ foot magenta-pink sculpture.
Despite her assurances, Reisman said that a sculpture will be placed at the 43rd/Jackson Ave location no matter what– and that the artist selected won’t change. During the evening, when board members made suggestions as to the color and scale, she said: “We aren’t in a position that we can say to an artist that you must do this?”
Joe Conley, the outgoing chairman of Community 2, asked Reisman if the sculpture in the rendering was going up on the site. Reisman said in one word “yeah.”
“So it’s a fait accompli,” Conley said, referring to sculpture—called the Sunbather– that will cost taxpayers $515,000.
Reisman said that it was not the case. She said that the sculpture still has to be reviewed by the Design Commission and the community board’s feedback will be included. “So give us feedback and we will work with it.”
However, the community board’s voice appears to be limited. The board only plays an advisory role in the selection process since it isn’t a voting-member of the panel that selects the artwork. Furthermore, with this project, a board staffer did not notify members of the board until late in the process that a sculpture was even going up at that location.
The panel, which voted on the project, was comprised of a representative from City Planning, Department of Transportation, Economic Development Corp and three local arts experts.
The initial rendering of the 8 ½ foot tall bright pink sculpture—made out of bronze–has undergone a slight change since it was unveiled at the community board’s Nov. 19 Land Use Committee meeting, which was published on this site.
Reisman said that the rendering would continue to change.
However, Pat O’Brien, the incoming Chairman, said it is very difficult to provide feedback on a rendering that will continue to evolve. He said that the community board needs some parameters as to how much it will change.
The artist Ohad Meromi, who was in attendance, said he selected the bright pink color because he believed it would take the concrete edge off the area and would make up for the shadows from the tall buildings. However, he said that the shade of pink and the scale might still be modified.
Meromi, who is based in Brooklyn, was one of 40 artists considered for the project, Reisman said. She said that half the artists considered by the panel were from Long Island City.
The panel liked his concept of the body in repose—as well as its scale.
“The sculpture will start off bright pink but will look better with age,” Meromi said.