A late arrival to the Public Art Fund's slate of summer public art commissions, Richard Wood's wall and door and roof opens today in City Hall Park, although it was already provoking strong reactions among locals as it was being assembled earlier this week. Something like a cross between a chess set's rook, Las Vegas's medieval-themed Excalibur Hotel Casino and a miniature fort, the New York Daily News got all kinds of raw criticisms from the people who'll have to work in and around the artwork over its three-month installation. Some highlights after the jump.
"This is the craziest thing I've seen in my 20 years on the job," said one cop on gate duty yesterday.
"It's going to humiliate the police officer who has to stand inside," said City Councilman Simcha Felder (D-Brooklyn), who likened the guard posts to "toy houses."
Councilwoman Letitia James (D, WFP-Brooklyn) slammed the houses as "a cross between Santa's playhouse and Little Red Riding Hood."
"In this time of public safety and post-9/11, the officers in there should be respected and should be taken seriously," James said.
All of which means that Wood's public art is doing exactly what public art is supposed to do: spark discussion, debate and interest in the various ways public space is used and distributed. Also, the cop who claims this is "the craziest thing [she/he's] seen in [her/his] 20 years on the job" must have the most boring career in the entire history of the NYPD. Join the discussion, head down to City Hall Park (Broadway at Chambers St) today, or anytime between now and September, and have a chat with the humiliated officers stationed in Woods' faux-brick barracks.