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Monday, June 30, 2008

Calling All Snitches

posted by on June 30 at 15:30 PM

I just got this email from artist Bob Rini:

Back in May you wrote about the Sound Transit project to beautify boarded-up city buildings (May 12, 2008) and you mentioned our cartoon group—the Friends of the Nib—decorating the Broadway Jack in the Box. The artwork was finally put up, in the form of vinyl banners encircling the building, each artist contributing a 6x6’ panel.

This weekend, after barely two weeks up, the piece was vandalized. Someone took a razor and cut out one of the 6x6’ panels—my drawing of a jazz trio—and stole it. Just took the damned thing.

There is an obvious risk to making public art. A lively discussion is in play on the LiveJournal blog, with some people asserting we were stupid to leave our work outside in the first place. That’s the law of the jungle. Maybe people didn’t know it was “art,” they say.

Meanwhile, the missing vinyl panel of my artwork is hanging in some garage or dorm or in a dumpster somewhere. The work was supposed to be up for several months, and now no one will see it. I’d like to find the missing art, but that’s probably impossible.

It’s a longshot, but keep an eye out for this.


Don’t make Ellen Forney go out there nights with a shotgun.

RSS icon Comments


It's very nice, where ever it is now.

Posted by tabletop_joe | June 30, 2008 3:39 PM

He put his ORIGINAL on the side of a Jack-in-the-Box?

Posted by w7ngman | June 30, 2008 3:41 PM

Ok, wait. It is very nice. It's wonderful, actually. As a matter of fact, I don't think this the work of vandals or dorm room-dwellers at all. I wouldn't be surprised if someone just had to have it for their selves--this free thing meant for everyone to see.

Which is a goddamned shame, and I'm getting mad just thinking about this.

Posted by tabletop_joe | June 30, 2008 3:45 PM

The people who stole it have great taste, you got to give them that.

Posted by whatevernevermind | June 30, 2008 3:46 PM

Gee, I dunno. The idea of a shotgun-wielding Ellen Forney hanging out in front of the boarded-up JiTB waiting to blast some art-lovin' varmint to smithereenies sounds kind of intriguing.

Posted by COMTE | June 30, 2008 3:46 PM

Somebody hung cool artwork on a condemned building behind a chain-link fence and got surprised when it was taken?

This is a state-funded idea that was incredibly badly planned. There was no plaque saying "ART," just a little banner listing "friends of the nib."

It's too bad it was taken, but somebody probably just thought they were taking down a cool poster that was destined for demolition anyway.

Posted by Cornsounder | June 30, 2008 3:51 PM

do artists own their art?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 30, 2008 3:52 PM

LOL @ LiveJournal

Posted by Non | June 30, 2008 4:06 PM

Y'know, I walked by that piece and thought it looked just fantastic, but I really had no idea (and there was no indication) that it was Official Public Art. Sucks to the culprit for stealing it, but damn, who wouldn't be happy to hang that in their home?

Posted by Hernandez | June 30, 2008 4:07 PM

I never liked it to tell the truth - a little too Magick-y Negro for me. Just a drawing of Three Black Dudes with a sunburst of light behind them...not much art but plenty of sentimentality. Probably by a white guy.

Posted by KatieDewi | June 30, 2008 4:15 PM


If you think that is too "Magik-y Negro", I'd hate to be you when you get behind one of these.

Posted by Dalton | June 30, 2008 4:24 PM

@10: You're RIDICULOUS. Enough said.

Posted by D | June 30, 2008 4:26 PM

Oh, Jesus Christ! Thanks, Dalton

Posted by KatieDewi | June 30, 2008 4:27 PM

If you saw a trinket sitting in the doorway of an abandoned building, how likely would you be to pocket it?

If you saw the same trinket on top of a modest pedestal in a plaza, with an informative plaque, would you be more or less likely to take it?

If the city had given the art the space and/or recognition it deserved, it would have inspired people to treat the works with the same amount of respect. Since it failed utterly in that regard, you're placing blame on the wrong people by "calling all snitches."

Posted by Sandy | June 30, 2008 4:28 PM

I kind of have to agree with #6. That's the nature of temporary public art (as opposed to permanent installations like statues and such). It's ephemeral. Once it's up at a public space, you've pretty much relinquished all control you had over it. If I was the artist I'd just imagine that someone took it because they liked it. At least that's what I like to think when one of mine "disappears".

Posted by antiuser | June 30, 2008 4:29 PM

This is not as bad as UBS being called on to snitch.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | June 30, 2008 4:31 PM

Holy shit Dalton.

That was uncalled for.

Posted by CTRL | June 30, 2008 4:42 PM

Yeah, Dalton, how are you going to restore my vision? I gouged my eyes out, and it's YOUR FAULT.

Posted by Fnarf | June 30, 2008 4:52 PM

The giant Eddie Murphy head will get the thieves if karma doesn't get them first!

Seriously, if you saw a trinket, behind a fence, fastened to the wall, how likely would you be to pocket it? You must want it badly enough to climb a fence, slash it off the wall to steal it.

Posted by Dalton | June 30, 2008 4:52 PM

Yeah, I'm amused to see all the people who think it's OK to slash up and steal something as long as they don't know it's art. Because art is sacrosanct, but stuff that belongs to other people is fair game.

Posted by Fnarf | June 30, 2008 5:25 PM

But then, these are the same kind of assholes who think it's groovy to steal stop signs and put them up in their dorm.

Posted by Fnarf | June 30, 2008 5:26 PM

Everyone know white guys draw the best negroes.

Posted by poochy | June 30, 2008 5:41 PM

Is that FDR on stand-up bass?

Posted by DOUG. | June 30, 2008 5:53 PM

Uh, it was behind a barb wired fence, screwed into the wall. What part of "this is not yours to take" do you need?

Posted by Ann | July 1, 2008 1:43 PM

@20: It's the same morons who think spraypainting things that don't belong to them is a legitimate art form.

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