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Art vs. Commerce - Forrest Myers - 'The Wall'

Best known for his work in light and with metal, the sculptor Forrest "Frosty" Myers is involved in an eight year dispute over whether a blue painted exterior wall he created in New York should be permanently removed.

It all began in 1972 when the artist was commissioned by City Walls, Inc. to build "The Wall," consisting of 42 aluminum bars in a grid of seven down and six across. He then attached projecting 4-foot-long aluminum girders to each brace. Located on the north face of 599 Broadway at Houston Street, it has been considered the unofficial "Gateway to So Ho."

In October of 2000, the NY Landmarks Preservation Commission voted unanimously to protect this installation which is protected by the cityís landmark laws.

In 2002 the NYLPC gave the owners (despite being a long time defunct organization) permission to temporarily remove "The Wall" in order to fix the wall beneath which was water damaged. The artwork now lies in storage while the debate continues. It may remain there until the city pays to have it reinstalled.

Despite the artwork being site specific, the owners of the building, International Arts Condominium say they would rather replace the artistís creation with billboards that would generate income, to the tune of $600,000 annually.

The two parties have gone to trial, Myers with his pro-bono lawyer, against the condominium company. This recent decision by Judge Deborah Batts disappointed Myers saying she misunderstood the importance of his artwork which he estimates is valued at $12 million.

Myers has had the support of notable artists such as Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Serra, and Frank Stella.

This case will now go to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals before going to the U.S. Supreme Court.


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