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Pink Sculpture is up, Van Bramer has already fielded calls wanting it down


Nov. 15, 2016 By Hannah Wulkan

The controversial pink sculpture that has been promised for the last two years was finally installed on Jackson Avenue over the weekend.

“The Sunbather,” a 4,000-pound bronze sculpture by the artist Ohad Meromi, was widely criticized for its bright pink color and half million-dollar price tag when it was announced. It has now found its permanent home at the intersection of Jackson Avenue and 43rd Avenue.

Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer was a proponent of the sculpture from the beginning, saying he will always support more public art, though he has remained more tight-lipped about his own thoughts on the design throughout the process.

“I believe in public art and I know that some people will love it and I know that some people will hate it, I think that’s art,” Van Bramer said.

“Having seen it up close and personal I certainly appreciate it more, I think it’s really interesting,” he added on his personal feelings about the piece. “I think it’s an important piece, a worthwhile piece, and a very interesting piece. I think it may grow on some people and some people will hate it forever, but I want to defend artists and I want to defend the artistic process.”

He added that he had already heard from several constituents who feel strongly that the piece is ugly and should be removed, but said that it is important to keep the fact that it is public art in perspective.

“I don’t want to downplay people’s feelings about it but I just want to say that the world has a lot of very serious things going on right now, the world changed for all of us last Tuesday, a lot of people are dealing with really life threatening, life altering moments,” Van Bramer said. “Let’s keep things in perspective, it’s not the end of the world it’s a public art piece, its one artists vision, and you know the thing is if you don’t like art or you think something is ugly, then you don’t have to look at it.”

The hostility towards the art piece dates back to its inception, when the community was kept in the dark during the early stages of planning for the sculpture. When the design and cost became public in November of 2014, the sculpture met mixed reactions from various community members.

“What a huge waste of money for this ugly piece of pink poop,” wrote one commenter on the LIC Post, echoing many similar concerns from others.

“I find the sculpture to be ugly and an inappropriate use of public money. It’s also indicative of an elitist culture which is very much in evidence at times in LIC. Time and time again Queens based artists are passed over and funds are given to artists from outside the borough,” another commenter wrote, pointing to another common complaint that the artist, Ohad Meromi, is from Brooklyn, and is not a locally based artist.

Some commenters were favorable towards the project, however, and used it to point to other issues in the LIC community.

“This is great! But face it, the yuppies who would be annoyed by this sticky pink bubblegum creature never go this far west,” one wrote.

“I don’t mind the sculpture. Probably temporary. It’s certainly getting everyone talking. What I find more offensive and disgusting are the luxury condos in LIC,” another commenter added.



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I walked by this yesterday and it’s truly terrible and I’m a huge advocate of art and design. Another person I was walking with pointed out that it also looked vulgar with the sculpture positioning.


That giant pink douchebag either has shitty posture or is manspreading.

Brooklynmc: very good comeback. So we should close our eyes walking by it and bump into a iphone gazer or someone with mental illness and get assaulted or killed. Which is highly likely because we don’t have enough hospitals to place them (including iphone gazers)

That thing and the machinations for placing it there are an abomination. It’s government and REBNY sanctioned vandalism.


“Let’s keep things in perspective, it’s not the end of the world it’s a public art piece, its one artists vision, and you know the thing is if you don’t like art or you think something is ugly, then you don’t have to look at it.”

That is really obnoxious. We do have to look at it. Am I supposed to close my eyes? I am a graphic designer who graduated from art school. I understand that everyone has an opinion on art and that everyone will not agree. We all get that. We are not stupid. First off, many people agree that it is ugly. Second, this thing is overvalued at $500,000. Third, the artist was paid $100,000, too much. Fourth, it does not look good in that space. Fifth, exactly how was it chosen and by whom and what relationships did they already have? Sixth, if it will be public art, why does the public not have a say? Trump was just elected President. I did not vote for him but enough people did. That is a democracy. I think controversial art is for museums or personal collections. History has shown exactly what type of art stands the test of time. How about a grand water fountain that lights up at night in a plaza? A place where people can congregate and enjoy the city and some art? Are we supposed to sit in the busy road here? Is this for passing cars to admire?


you know what else the neighborhood can do with $500,000? Maybe half a dog park. It’s hardly anything when considering city projects, and it brings color and interest to the area. Maybe it would make more sense in Hunters Point South Park, but what’s the big deal? It’s contemporary art, which LIC is known for. SculptureCenter is right there, MoMa PS1 is down the street.


Nobody is asking for another dog park and that projects cost that much is the root of the problem that needs to be addressed. They wouldn’t cost that much if PUBLIC money wasn’t getting into all those various pockets it has no business of being in. With PRIVATE money every cent needs to be clearly accounted and justified for. If it’s PUBLIC, well there’s always more where that came from, so who really cares if it’s a bit more here and there.

And yes, the neighborhood could do much more useful things with that $500k in education, transportation and housing. But no, let’s just waste it on a piece of public art that no one wants.


Sorry, public art should never be ugly. The work is not in a gallery or bought and sold by private collectors indulging their “sophisticated” tastes. Public art is “owned” by everyone and should primarily serve the purpose of beautifying public spaces and bring people together. If so many people are saying this thing is ugly and reject it, then the city failed miserably in its mission.


“”…and you know the thing is if you don’t like art or you think something is ugly, then you don’t have to look at it.”

Wish that was the case but afraid this pink play-doh mess is impossible to miss and certain to distract drivers. How about we propose a rotation of public art and stick this one in JVB’s street in sunnyside?


The world did change, but let’s not forget it’s imebecile politicians like urself that allowed it to happen by ignoring your own constituents….with that said I’ll say it again…., no wonder Trump won.


It should be taken down as it is not very easy to look at. The price was outrageous which makes it even worse.


“I believe in public art and I know that some people will love it and I know that some people will hate it, I think that’s art,” Van Bramer said.

That’s not the point, doofus. The point is that this ugly piece of pink crap cost the taxpayers $500’000! yet they were completely excluded from the process. Even when that shady process came to light and people were clearly against this waste of money, they were just side-stepped. Borderline criminal behavior.

Nobody would have cared had this cost $50’000. Still beyond me how they tallied up the $500k, justifying $100k just for the “artist” (debatable), which is not some internationally acclaimed artist but a dude from Brooklyn. Real LIC connection there. – Van Bramer totally dropped the ball on this one.


This is a problem with the art world in NYC. It is run by elitists for elitists. They sneer at public opinion — that’s the price of admission to their club. These people wouldn’t be involved if they didn’t have shady, opaque selection processes showering loads of money on their insider friends or bed partners. The whole thing is disgusting. The hideous statue is almost the least of the problem.


It pisses me off that this sculptor received $100,000 of city resources. In the future, artists should be compensated for their time and for materials and a very small stipend. If they don’t like that then they should take a walk and let someone else do it instead.


We had no say in this process. What if we petition for a permanent protest plaque next to the art voicing our displeasure? Would cost less that 1k and shift the meaning of this ‘art’ to a permanent, important example of poor governance. Thoughts?


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