Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Is it wrong of me to laugh at this?

‘Cleanup’ of artwork puts egg on sponsor’s face

Leslie Rech installed her artwork in an alley off Main Street on Sunday.

The next day, a “clean team” tore it down and threw it away.

Made of eggshells and a handmade dress, “Anna Dropped Her Basket” was to be part of “Accessibility Columbia: Making History on Main Street,” an installation art show opening Thursday.

Since early February, Rech had accumulated 300 eggshells for the work, a statement on homelessness and mental illness. The eggs hadn’t gone to waste; Rech used them to bake cakes for residents of a local women’s shelter.

“This is about the worst thing that’s happened in my career,” said Rech, an associate professor at S.C. State University who has done a dozen installations. “For it to happen to me in my hometown is shocking.”

Just as shocking: An employee of the City Center Partnership — a sponsor of the art show — took it down, said Lorri-Ann Carter, press representative for the partnership.

The work might have been damaged by wind and was not labeled as art, Carter said. She called it “an honest mistake.”

Matt Kennell, president of the City Center Partnership, could not be reached Tuesday. Efforts to reach Shane Hillard, director of operations for the organization, Tuesday afternoon were unsuccessful.

The City Center Partnership provides economic development, marketing and advocacy for downtown Columbia. It is funded by a special tax.

With Rech’s work gone, the exhibition now will include seven artists’ installations on Main Street and two more on Assembly.

The exhibition is scheduled to be up through May 7.

I feel guilty for laughing, but c'mon. 300 eggshells? In an alley? What did you expect?

[I promise more and better blogging soon. Soon, I tell you!]


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