Artworks Damaged When Exhibit Moved, Students Say
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Artworks from a college exhibit that was shut down because parks officials thought it was inappropriate for visitors to the public war memorial that housed it were damaged or misplaced when they were removed by the school, students said yesterday.
“Students found their work improperly packaged in garbage bags, much of it irreparably damaged and some pieces missing,” the students said in an e-mailed statement describing their examination of the art on Saturday.
The Brooklyn College students’ exhibit, which included representations of male genitalia, watercolor paintings of gay sex, and a live rat, opened early this month in the city-owned Brooklyn War Memorial, a World War II commemoration used as gallery space by the college.
The Department of Parks & Recreation closed it the next day, saying an agreement with the school stipulated that art exhibits at the memorial be “appropriate for families.”
Carrie Fucile, who built a 7-by-8-by-10-foot wooden house for the show, found barely a trace of her art in the two rooms in which the students’ dismantled works were stored at the college campus’s Roosevelt Hall, the students’ statement said. Pieces of the installation were used as packaging for other artworks, and most of the $20,000 worth of digital equipment used for the show was found jumbled together in boxes or trash bags, it said.
The rat was taken home by a student the day the exhibit was closed. A spokesman for the college didn’t immediately return a message left on his after-hours cell phone number yesterday.
The 18-student show, a graduation requirement, is the thesis for the masters of fine arts degree and had been scheduled to run through May 25.
After it was closed, the student artists agreed to remount it later this month in nearby retail space donated by a local developer if the school upheld an agreement to provide logistical and financial support for it. They said Sunday that the plan was up in the air because of the damage to the artworks.
They said they still planned to file a freedom-of-speech lawsuit against the city, the parks department and the college over the show’s removal from the Brooklyn War Memorial.
The granite and limestone memorial, in Cadman Plaza, is dedicated to Americans who served in World War II. It has a hall with an honor roll listing the names of those who died and features larger-than-life statues of a male warrior, symbolizing victory, and a female with a child, representing family.