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We have officially become so lazy that we will destroy a piece of great public art like Tilted Arc simply because we do not want to walk around it.

Richard Serra’s sculpture was only given eight years of life before it was disassembled. The General Services Administration funded this $175,000 minimalist sculpture as a site-specific work in the Foley Federal Plaza in New York City. This piece stood at twelve feet high and 120 feet long and cut directly through the plaza. While many were pleased to see that their tax dollars were going to the arts to create a more visually rich culture, others were livid over the fact that they now needed to side step the monstrous wall to get to the other side of the plaza. I think this is completely ridiculous, but can imagine fast-paced New Yorkers getting peeved.

After 1,300 nearby employees signed a petition to have the thing removed, a hearing quickly materialized. 122 people, including artists Keith Haring and Claus Oldenburg, spoke to keep the sculpture, while 58 haters passionately demanded it be removed. The folks who testified against it claimed that it this piece would attract graffiti, rats, and serve as a blasting wall for bombs by terrorists. It is impressive the intricate conspiracies the human mind will create in order to get its way.

At the hearings, the possibility of relocating the work was proposed. Serra fervently rejected this idea saying that to move a site-specific work would be to destroy it. He sued the government for breach of contract, but lost. At trial, there was a 5-to-1 consensus to give the boot to Serra’s Tilted Arc. In 1989, workmen came in the middle of the night, cut the work into three pieces and hauled it away. It still exists, gathering dust in a dark storage facility somewhere, hidden from the public eye.



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Here is what Wikipedia says about Tilted Arc

Tilted Arc was a controversial public art installation by Richard Serra, displayed in Foley Federal Plaza in Manhattan from 1981 to 1989. The art work consisted of a 120-foot-long, 12-foot-high solid, unfinished plate of rust-covered COR-TEN steel. Advocates characterized it as an important work by a well-known artist that transformed the space and advanced the concept of sculpture, whereas critics focused on its perceived ugliness and saw it as ruining the site. Following an acrimonious public debate, the sculpture was removed in 1989 as the result of a federal lawsuit and has never been publicly displayed since, in accordance with the artist's wishes.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Tilted Arc