Via Daryn blog, I find that Mike Ross, the artist who was chosen to work on the art in Capitol Hill Station, is concerned his project might be canceled due to public outcry over the use of decommissioned fighter jets in the installation:
————— Forwarded message —————
From: Mike Ross firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: May 22, 2008 11:04 AM
Subject: Sculpture may be canceled — please help
To: Mike Ross email@example.com>
Hey folks. As some of you know, I was selected to make a sculpture for Seattle’s new subway station in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. I proposed a sort of stylistic sequel to Big Rig Jig, using a pair of fighter jets. The jets would be deconstructed into pieces, painted pink and orange, and spread out along organically-inspired curves above the station platform between the ceiling beams (they have high ceilings in this station). The exact design is not yet finished. But you can see mock-ups of some early variations here:
The project is in now in danger of being canceled, and I need your help.
Several people have written letters to Seattle’s transit agency, Sound Transit, complaining that the piece is offensive, a glorification of war, and culturally insensitive to neighborhood residents. The area’s 43rd-District Democrats have even passed a resolution officially condemning the sculpture:
Unfortunately, the only people who have been moved to write letters are those who object to the sculpture, and the transit agency is seriously considering canceling the project. It has been demoted from “approved” to “not yet approved,” and the rest of the station development is now proceeding without the sculpture, until we can
demonstrate significant community support.
I am hoping that some of you might know people in or near Capitol Hill, Seattle, who can see the potential of the sculpture, and who disagree with the idea that it is offensive or a glorification of war. It may use military technology, but it is not just a pair of jets — it’s jets, chopped up, painted pink, and made to look like two birds
kissing. There is a peaceful message there, and I believe the artwork will ultimately be accepted by its detractors as an object and process which references many of their own views. But before that can happen, the transit agency needs to know that there are people in the community who support the sculpture.
If you know anyone who might wish to write a letter or email (emails are just as good), they should send it to the following two people:
Joni Earl, CEO
401 S. Jackson St.
Seattle, WA 98104
Barbara Luecke, STart Program Manager
401 S. Jackson St.
Seattle, WA 98104
Thanks for any help you can offer. Please feel free to forward this email.
The 43rd Democrats protested the piece for being culturally insensitive? That’s embarrassing. I can understand thinking a local artist should do the piece, though I’ve seen a lot of local art and I’m not always impressed. Knowing these people are out to sabotage the art, and put something in that inspires less conversation makes me more attracted to the art than I was before. I think using the warplanes as art pays homage to Seattle’s former reputation as the Jet City, though it’s fair for recent migrants to Seattle to not appreciate this. I also think two pink fighter jets kissing is a nice play on “swords to ploughshares“. I also think it’s ironic that people who claim to fight for tolerance and a range of ideas oppose something that falls outside their way of thinking.
I like it, and I’ve written emails to those mentioned above. What do you think? Is this really culturally insensitive or an over reaction?