A Resounding Apathy

Here’s the letter we wrote to Iowa City’s Public Art Program, to go along with our Donation Station art proposal:

Dear [name redacted],

In reply to the recent Call to Artists from Iowa City’s Public Art Advisory Committee, I’d like to submit two proposals (attached) for potential improvements to our downtown’s Donation Stations. I hope that they will help stimulate more public use of your amazing devices.

My first proposal (entitled “Buy or Die”) is a realistic resin sculpture of an armed Officer of the Peace. He has a Donation Station for a head, and his boot is resting on a homeless person.

This, I feel, would appeal to the Donation Stations’ target demographic: those in the economic and ethnic strata typically protected, rather than threatened & abused, by police. I’ve depicted the handsome, sturdy white officer dealing decisively with the type of decrepit menace that Iowa City’s Downtown Association has been laboring to remove from public sight.

Note that to reach the meter, patrons are encouraged to step directly onto the prone body of the derelict — I think this will be an enjoyable treat for the type of person Donation Stations appeal to.

My attachments include a front view of the sculpture, a side view, and also a close-up of the hand of the “service-resistant” homeless person, clutching his waiting-list ticket for the city’s “services.”

My second proposal (entitled “Gentrification Station”) is a bit more boldly metaphorical — the idea is to construct an interactive machine that is as dangerous, costly and inefficient as Iowa City’s taxpayer dollars will allow. When someone feels threatened by an undesirable taking up space on a public bench, they can just drop a quarter into the Donation Station’s slot — this starts the big metal gears churning, dragging the hapless bum into their grinding teeth to be painfully chewed up & dismembered.

I hope you agree that these proposals capture the spirit of this city project! I’m excited about the chance to enhance Iowa City’s public spaces with my art, and am eager to help the city make some badly needed improvements to the Donation Station’s public image.

Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing back from you! I also welcome any feedback on how I might be able to improve my proposals’ designs (which are now technically your designs, according to your attorneys).

For Art’s sake,
-Art Tumor

And here, received Monday evening, is their impressively unimpressed response (with typos left intact):

Hi Mr. Tumor –

I need to apologize as we are no longer orchestrating the Donation Station Public Art project. I did notice that the webpage is still live on the Public Art Program website and it should have been remove. I will have that done immediately.

Pending completion of the planning process for the Downtown Streetscape project, the program may be reinitiated if it is found to be something that is still of interest. If it is decided that the program should be pursued, I will certainly let you know.

I appreciate your interest and apologize for the confusion.

Your artwork is very passionate.

[name redacted]

Snap. Well, let it not be said that the Playhouse can’t admit when we’ve been out-trolled. Point, City Hall.