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Parks & Public Spaces

New York Public Art Fund - proposal of temporary installation of the work The Warhol Monument by artist Rob Pruitt at the corner of 17th Street and Broadway

WHEREAS, Public Art Fund proposes a temporary exhibit of The Warhol Monument, a bronze statue of Andy Warhol by internationally acclaimed artist Rob Pruitt, in the pedestrian plaza located near the northeast intersection of Broadway and East 17th Street, from Wednesday March 30 through Sunday October 2, 2011; and

WHEREAS, Although historically Community Board Five has consistently favored temporary art exhibits that have been installed inside Madison Square Park and Union Square Park, and also in the Park Avenue Malls, the proposal in question is the first time we are evaluating an exhibit which would be installed inside a pedestrian plaza; and

WHEREAS, Andy Warhol had a direct relationship to the Union Square Park area in that:

1.      Warhol's legendary Factory was located at 33 Union Square West from 1967 until 1973, and then at 860 Broadway (at the corner of East 17th Street), from 1973 until 1984

2.      In the early days of the publication of Interview, Warhol could be seen selling the magazines outside of the Factory and around Union Square Park; and

WHEREAS, The Warhol Monument would be cast by Polich Tallix Fine Art Foundry in Rock Tavern, NY, and would be a 7'-0" tall bronze figure depicting Warhol in an everyday pose, carrying a shopping bag full of Interview magazines; and

WHEREAS, The bronze figure would be set upon a stepped granite pedestal, 3'-0" in height, 6'-0" X 6'-0" in area, and the pedestal would be set upon rubber pads in order to protect the paving; and

WHEREAS, The granite pedestal and bronze figure would be installed by fine art riggers using a fork lift, and the installation would require approximately four hours; and

WHEREAS, It is expected that the pedestrian plaza would not be damaged by the installation or the removal, Public Art Fund would provide insurance for the work, including liability coverage for the permitting authority, and would be responsible for restoring the site to its original condition; and

WHEREAS, The temporary exhibit of The Warhol Monument would not necessitate the removal of any of the tables or chairs from the pedestrian plaza, as these would be moved within the site, and the granite pedestal would provide visitors with the amenity of additional places to be seated; and

WHEREAS, Pending approval in a follow-up review by Community Board Five, any future proposals pertaining to signage that might be installed near the exhibit should be small, limited to providing the public with an insight into the concept behind the work, information about the artist, and the history Andy Warhol's relationship to Union Square, and there should be no corporate sponsorship advertisements within the public plaza; and

WHEREAS, Quality public sculpture is a welcome addition to the City's cultural landscape, and this proposed temporary exhibit is a tribute to the father of Pop Art and one of New York's enduring cultural icons; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five is currently working on developing guidelines which will address the long term issues associated with the usage of pedestrian plazas; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five recommends approval of Public Art Fund's proposal to exhibit The Warhol Monument in the pedestrian plaza near the corner of Broadway and West 17th Street; and be it further

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five's approval is subject to the temporary status of the pedestrian plaza under a prior agreement with DOT to establish this plaza. If DOT determines that the plaza is to be reconfigured in such a manner that does not permit or accommodate the temporary installment of art, the petitioner agrees to remove the statue prior to the completion of the term approved by this resolution; and be it further

RESOLVED, That Community Board Five's approval of this temporary art exhibit is not intended to establish a precedent for the evaluation of future proposals for the usage of pedestrian plaza spaces within our district.

The above resolution passed by a vote of 27 in favor; 4 opposed; 1 abstaining.

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