July 3

Machine gun welded on playground sculpture

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226  comments

Update: The Seattle Parks Department removed the machine gun tonight after seeing story in the media. “We made the decision to take it out ASAP,” it said. The story began on Wallingford’s neighborhood blogs and quickly spread to KING, KIRO and our partner The Seattle Times.

“I am relieved,” says Jeanne. “I had no idea they would respond so quickly.”

Earlier: Visitors to Meridian Park were surprised to see a mysterious addition welded on one of the child-themed statues ringing the playground: a machine gun. The statue is right at the northeastern entrance — one of several statues, like a train engine and a child on stilts, created by artist Pat Maher.

“I feel so demoralized,” tweeted Jeanne, who helped commission Maher for the original work. “We worked hard on renovating that park and playground and getting input from neighborhood. Sculptures were charming.”

Jeanne says she spoke to Seattle Police, and the officer told her no crime has been committed. “He told me this wasn’t vandalism. That just because I didn’t like it didn’t mean it was a crime,” she said.

We’ve heard from several neighbors, including Charles in comments, that the original arm on the statue was missing.

A letter from a man claiming to be the rogue artist explains a little about his motive. “I’ve re-armed your sailor boy sculpture that has was damaged and disintegrating at Meridian Playground by my house. I thought my addition was great, a bit tongue in cheek but a nice addition.” The rest of the letter goes on to ridicule Jeanne.

We spoke to several neighbors at the playground this morning. “It’s depressing,” said one mom, but others had a different view. “I think rogue art is cool,” said a dad, who joked that someone should write “Seal Team 6” on the sculpture. Another woman pointed out that the sculpture is at adult height. “Are kids going to look up there and say, ‘oh my gosh there’s a gun?'” she asked.

We’ve reached out to Maher for his reaction, and police as well (since it’s a holiday weekend, we may not hear until Tuesday.) In the meantime, here are a few of the tweets from Jeanne (@fourchickens), and please leave your thoughts in comments below. Is it vandalism? Or art?

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  1. The paper hat looks a lot like a sailor's hat.  Regarding the gun…walk down any toy aisle and see how many toy guns (in many forms) are there and how many military toys (including G.I. Joes, tanks, etc.)…intended to raise good little soldiers from the very beginning; if the rogue artist had added a flag, I suspect there would have been wider acceptance.

    That said, although I do not support guns or the portrayal of violence for children OR adults, I do wholeheartedly support “rogue art” everywhere, across the globe and even in Wallingford, and consider it to be the truest expression of any given society.

  2. Looks cool, doesn't look like a real gun. The Artist was probably paid $200,000 more than he should have for his art anyway. This addition cost taxpayers nothing.

  3. I hope whoever did it isn't planning to let loose with a machine gun at a children's play area. I think it's creepy and disturbing and totally inappropriate for a play area.  Here's an idea for the budding artiste who expresses him/herself by welding guns onto things:  go weld guns onto random things at a shooting range.  I think the patrons there might appreciate your art more deeply.

  4. This issue is not whether or not people like machine guns (although, I will say for the record that I don't).  The issue is that the vandal took it upon himself to radically change a piece of public art by welding things onto it.  I was on the committee that, based on neighborhood surveys, contracted the original artist to create a whimsical sculpture in keeping with the theme of the park (children's literature).  We did not contract for a machine gun sculpture.

    If he wants to have his art in a public park, then he should go through the process of getting his art accepted by the city for public works.  The fact that people are now treating this as some sort of reality TV show where everyone votes on whether or not they like it misses the point entirely.

  5. hahaha, that is EXCELLENT and HILARIOUS!!  Four chickens, I feel so sorry for you… NOT!  What a whiner.

  6. The police officer must have misunderstood her. How can that not be vandalism? Clever vandalism, perhaps, but surely vandalism?

  7. Wait a minute.  don't you remember how upset official seattle was about the rogues who put a non-destructive ball and chain around hammering man downtown a few years ago?   That didn't hurt the sculpture and, I think, make a statement about the condition of workers…. so is this the same seattle who says it's ok for someone to weld something to a sculpture?    Just because it's in a local park it's ok to do something that radically changes the sculpture (and is destructive in that it can't just be removed)? ?  ?  really? 
    Whatever the view of public changes to public art (i.e. considering it part of adopting the art or vandalizing it), I think seattle should at least be consistent. that is, not hypocritical.   Sigh.

  8. It's so obvious that this piece is about imagination–the boy is imagining that he is an action hero.

  9. Not saying I like it and there are feminist reasons that I might have problems with it….

  10. It's both vandalism and art. I give it high marks for art, because it's provocative and makes people think. Feeling so demoralized is just so much hand-wringing for nothing. It's not like someone stole it. What was done can be undone.

  11. Are you kidding me? This is not clever rogue art! We do not have the right to damage public property of any kind.  If it were a temporary installation that might be one thing.  Leave it for a while then remove it.  But an individual has no right to permanently install their own items on community-commissioned work.

  12. I think it's brilliant. Considering the supreme court's recent ruling eliminating age restrictions in who can buy violent video games, I think the timing is perfect. Might as well start exposing the little tykes to their future roles as society's terrorists a little early. Bravo.

  13. You do realize that can just be cut off with the same oxy-acetylene setup that welded it on in the first place, right?

  14. personally, this is a little more creative than the illiterate uncreative tagging that goes on. I don't see the big deal really, and if you don't like it, just cut it off yourself.

  15. It's ridiculous that welding something onto a sculpture is not vandalism when painting on something is.  Vandalism is ” willful or malicious destruction or defacement of public or private property” according to Merriam Webster's dictionary.  Surely welding something on is “defacement” of this “public property”.

  16. The original art isn't whimsical, it's banal.  Also, pacifism is a logical fallacy – some conflict will always exist in nature – so all the people who are getting so offended at the sight of an Artistic Representation of a gun are very maladjusted to reality.

  17. Looks like more than just “welded on”… what happened to the original arm/hand that was there?  Does that make it theft as well as vandalism?  Then again, SPD was only “embarrassed” by the very real and very lethal AR-15 rifle they left sitting in public, so maybe they aren't the best judge. I'm all for “rogue art”, but it should be temporary and no damage done.

  18. I have to admit this made me laugh. It's brilliant. Seeing this suddenly appear would have fueled all kinds of great discussions with my kids.

    It's DEFINATELY vandalism but it is also mind stretching guerilla art. It's not really cool to deface another's artworks but sometimes it can bend the original conception ( not that there was much here, let's face it) into something salient and rich, and also funny, and that's sort of what's going on here. With a touch of creepy, which kids do enjoy a lot more than the banal.

  19. There are some facts missing from the news story that were included in the Officer's police report.  Yes…that's right, the Officer didn't just blow the incident off as this article would lead you to believe but he documented it in an SPD report…

    First, the original arm was already broken off and missing for quite some time before the new machine gun carrying one was attached. 

    Second, the City of Seattle does not have a law/crime of “Vandalism” on the books.  What it does have is “Property Destruction, SMC 12A.08.020” which states (from the City's website) “A person is guilty of property destruction if he or she: Intentionally damages the property of another”.

    I ask you, “If the arm was already missing, is it Property Destruction to attach a new one in it's place?”

  20. excellent point.  what is sold in toy stores and portrayed in video games is 100 times worse.

    maybe …. just a thought ….. the intent is “time for a revolution” …..

  21. Big deal…I think it's cool and original….Fourchickens feels so demoralized?
    Damn. Glad I don't have you for home room.

  22. I wonder if such a big flap would be made if it had been a bong, instead…Probably not.

  23. I dunno if it is “Property Destruction” but if it isn't illegal in some way then you should have no problems with me welding whatever I deem artistic onto or over anything you own. 

    Taggers should be able to successfully defend themselves against SMC 12A.08.020 as long as they pick a wall with a bad paint job. Not intentionally damaging, they were protecting the building by restoring a layer of paint. It's a public service.

  24. No – because that'd be vandalism (see Charlie Fineman's post). You can only add things.

  25. If MacDonald's put up a billboard near the park, selling Happy meals, you wouldn't be demoralized. You'd think that's normal. I think corporate signs and billboards plastered everywhere is disgusting — basically corporate sponsored graffiti. Now that I know the statue was missing an arm to begin with I think the vandalism is very creative. A machine gun that shoots flowers is very cool! Is that vandalism because the committee didn't approve it? The reason this is real art is that it's inspiring thoughtful discussion. Bravo!

  26. My Aunt works with the V.A. hospital. There are so many kids younger then my own coming back with their original arms or legs missing and metal ones put in to it's place….
    It's been 10 years of war. I think this addition is just a peak in to the psyche of what 2 wars with more to come will do. It's depressing, but maybe it will make us pause when we listen to our elected official's tell us why we need to police another nation.

  27. > banal
    In other words, everyone is entitled to your interpretation but not their own.

    > logical fallacy
    fallacy – all or most of the people who object are pacifists. 
    fallacy – it matters whether pacifism is a 'logical fallacy'.

  28. The cop is a moron. What happened is, indeed, vandalism, according to any legal definition of the word.

  29. Weld something to a cop car and see if it is considered a crime. the cop is plainly wrong about this.

    As far as the gun. When today's playground age children are adults the only jobs available will likely be the military so…

  30. @fourchickens: Its not about you.  Nobody cares that *you* feel demoralized.  Perhaps taking a step back at the big picture would help (keeping *you* out of it).  There is usually a substantial statement within guerrilla art.  Have *you* even looked for it?  PS, I agree the officer you talked to is just wrong.  Someone owns this property (the city?) and the property owner was vandalized and there is a substantial cost to repair the damage.  That is no joke.  But making it about *you* makes *me* mad.

  31. I don't think the artist is making a point here beyond showing a desire to shock and annoy. There is no wit here and the workmanship of the machine gun is very shoddy.

    When the ball and chain was attached to hammering man on Labor Day it made a point and raised questions about the nature of work in this culture. It was art!

  32. “There is usually a substantial statement within guerrilla art. '

    Well? What is it here?

  33. yet for some reason you are not telling us why you might not like it and what those feminist reasons are that cause problems for you.

  34. Earlier this evening, a Parks and Recreation employee came and cut off the machine gun part that was welded onto the sculpture.  The artist did not authorize the “addition” as the vandal claimed he did.  And the machine gun piece is now at Parks and Rec should the vandal wish to reclaim his propterty.

  35. Hmmm.. well the original piece of art was … well, …. white, middle class, mommy art… sorta sucked.  As Obama expands Pax Amerika… all you Whimm's this is the futture  of your little snivelers… it has impact and edge,,,the original was sorta like our crap Seattle sculpture park… boring.

  36. My son (almost 9) says, “Awesome! It was better than the real arm!”
    Transformers were his favorite way back in kindergarten. Seems kid-friendly to me.

  37. Does anybody remember the ball-and-chain that was attached to the ankle of Hammering Man? That was done by Subculture Joe, a rogue artist, to make a point about about the statue. This is creepy, actually; what is the point the rogue artist is making here? That children are picking up guns? That there are too many guns  in the culture?  I will say that a child sees many, many TV and movie murders before he or she is twelve.
         Maybe we as parents and citizens should think about that, before we get too upset about this.  Turn off the violent TV, and stop buying tickets to ultra violent movies, as a personal choice.

  38. It's not true that nobody cares. Sorry that you are offended that anyone expresses how they feel.

  39. A SPD officer recently left a machine gun sitting on the back of a patrol car, it could end up anywhere. I thought this was a statement about that, but turns out the rogue welder is just another jerk.
    Maybe he was drunk?

  40. Jeanne… do you have something against children with multi-purpose prosthetic limbs? Who's to say that is a machine gun at all? Perhaps this handicapped child & his supportive family were assisting the hot dog vendors at SafeCo Field – and he has attached his Hot Dog Gun.

  41. Pat Mahar has been out of the country for the last week so I'm pretty sure he did not authorize anything.

  42. To me, the addition of the machine gun seemed a kind of protest against the way that the idealized “whimsical” picture of childhood innocence represented by the original art actually censors or denies all the normal negative feelings of frustration, anger, etc., that all children feel in the course of growing up.

    The removal of the machine gun by the Parks department is yet another form of censorship. But the mutilated statue that now remains expresses the truth of the original — the boy had his arm taken, in the same way that the “perfect childhood” ideal takes away the ability for children to speak. So I like the new one even more.

  43. Thank you Jeanne/fourchickens for choosing to spend your free time working with others in our community to improve this public space that all of us are able to enjoy.  I am grateful for neighborhood volunteers like you whom I've never met who put in the hours for the greater good. 

    I'm stunned people are criticizing you for expressing your opinion about the addition of “guerilla art” while freely expressing their own.  Perhaps their strong feelings about what constitutes art will inspire them to participate in future projects in our area.

    Frankly, I don't see the difference between tagging Michaelangelo's “David” and welding anything – butterfly net or machine gun – to this piece in Meridian Park.  While some might find it offensive, others may interpret is as “mind-bending.”

  44. What a lot of fuss over a piece of useless metal, if that is all that the “4 Chickens ” has to worry about she is lucky.
     So My Advice to “4 Chickens ” is-: Go Home and Look After Your Eggs and don”t bring up any more of this Drivel.

  45. When I first saw the picture of the statue, I thought it was at a military base.  When I found out it was at a children's park my comment is VANDALIZED.  If there is not a law against adding to someone else's art work we need to make one.

  46. The parents who are taking children to parks are turning off the TV,  and and are staying away from the movies.

  47. Oh yes I assure you there would have been.  Guns and drugs do a lot more damage than any of us can possibly know.

  48. Yes, the world needs MORE LAWS. If we aren't doing as much as we can to control other people's behavior, we aren't saving the children.

  49. Sure they are. Because everyone who takes their kid to the park automatically turns into a perfect parent. Going to the park also magically erases all the parenting slip-ups you've made in the past. It's amazing!

  50. Yes. We don't even have to prove it. We just say it, and magically our words make it truth. Down with evidence! Down with facts!

  51. All art must be accepted by committee! All art must be pre-approved, pre-generalized, pre-sanitized, permitted, and approved by the motherland. Violators will have their limbs severed.

  52. PS. Kate Bergman, you are a professional journalist. You should know better than to insert your personal opinion on the artist's letter with “The rest of the letter goes on to ridicule Jeanne.” This is not clear from the letter, and it actually appears to be recounting the verbal abuses Jeanne doled out to the artist when she and her husband confronted him in the park. I won't speculate on why you did this (both misrepresenting the artist and failing to mention the allegations of Jeanne's words), but please show some journalistic integrity and report objectively.

  53. I think it was a protest against the boring nature of most public art.  There, I said it–because most public art has to pass the censors of small-minded public opinion–it ends up being faceless and boring.  If anything dares to break the bounds of banal, it ends up being taken down–not that I think it's good to add something to someone else's artwork–but I do wish public art in our city, at any rate could be more challenging and force people to deal with art that is more than just cute.

  54. Not sure about the Obama stuff–but I agree with the rest of what you said.

  55. I Disagree.  There are many, many statements being made here as pointed out in several earlier comments.

  56. You are a bit late posting your comments, you must have been feeding “4 Chickens” cos” she has gone broody.
    Who ever put the original scrap metal up wants certifying.

  57. Organicartist, people who don't like the added welding are *not* “very malajusted to reality.”  They simply have an opinion different from yours. 

  58. If it was vandalizing artwork I might worry about it. If it is making an addition to the little tin soldier that some hack put up in the park and left to rust then who cares? I can guarantee that none of the kids cared about a statue like that before. (“wow a paper hat!!!”) Now at least a few of the kids will look up and say “cool”.

  59. Well Davrow, as long as we're unsolicited offering advice here,  I suggest you enroll in a remedial English class – and quickly.  If all you have to worry about is a stranger's opinion on art you certainly have the time.

  60. “…the boy had his arm taken in the same way that the 'perfect childhood' ideal takes away the ability for children to speak…”

    Son, you might like the machine gun, but its removal doesn't render the children of Seattle mute.  Its removal is no more “censorship” than removing graffiti off of other public property.

  61. By your reasoning we need to weld genatalia on all statues to make them noticed by children…

    who have the same mental capacity as you

  62. So Xavier Lopez Jr, did your suggestion for a Robert Mapplethorpe themed children's playground get dismissed at the planning meeting early on, or have you even bothered to attend one?

  63. if police don't consider welding a gun onto public property “vandalism”  we either need another law, or start breeding cops to have brains

  64. Removing my sign advertising my  artistic brilliance (applied by spray paint)  from your car is  censorship

    why are you on the side of the oppressors by removing my tag?

  65. blueben:  Neighbor respectfully explained how the the community decided upon the original sculpture.  If you have such a problem with the committee's choices, I suggest you leave the confines of your mother's basement and become a part of this process.

  66. madhatter, I care that this lady feels demoralized. 

    Does every person who feels passionately about something make you angry?

  67. It's a wonderful and creative addition.  If it was a “purdy flower” you all would be beaming about how wonderful it was, but because it's art you don't like you want it removed.  Unabashed hypocrisy.  Hope you're proud.

  68. The spelling is “genitalia”, and yes, that would probably also be an improvement.  Art should be relevant to the current generation, and what kid has not seen “Terminator” or “Transformers”?

  69. If would be vandalism if the artist had removed the arm, but it was already damaged, so he was only improving it.

  70. Good god, are you serious?  Comparing this tripe to David is nominated for post of the year!

  71. Wrong.  The arm was already missing, so there was no vandalism.  It was a vast improvement.

  72. It was not a real gun, but a fantasy gun appropriate for children, as they read about constantly in comics, see in movies, etc.

  73. I grew up in Wallingford, which once once a vibrant a diverse community.  Now that the rich have driven anyone with character out a former funky neighborhood, the nannys are offended by anything that might cause their masters' spawn to think.   Poor rich folks, so oppressed.

  74. No, because the machine gun arm was more artistic than all the other sculptures put together.  And also something modern kids could better relate to.

  75. There is not a kid in the world who has not already seen similar lots of fantasy images similar to this.  To compare it with adult sexuality is absurd.

  76. Wait a second. Don't statues have second amendment rights?

    “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

    I'm calling Sarah Palin.

  77. The “community” did not commission the original, a bureaucrat did.  It was the “community” that added the modification.  Which is a considerable improvement in my opinion.

  78. If you have ever actually tried to participate in the “process”, you would know how inaccurate Neighbor was.  Art selection by the city commission requires knowing the right people and who to contribute campaign funds to.  Your comment makes this modification even more valid.

  79. There is not a child alive who has not played with a fantasy machinegun idealized by this.  To deny that is to deny reality.  And children resent being denied like that.

  80. What the police believe is irrelevant. They only enforce existing laws. This is not vandalism by Seattle's laws, and frankly nobody here has presented a good argument why it should be.

  81. “Well Davrow, as long as we're unsolicited offering advice here”

    What was that about remedial English?

  82. Does every white American woman with a cause that doesn't get her way make you care about her demoralization?

  83. Any legal definition, except the one in Seattle. Stupid inconvenient facts!

  84. Right or wrong, did it make anyone else think about the children lost to the LRA? I was surprised that no one mentioned this.

  85. Ah, yes. If I want to add art to my public park, I have to seek out all the various committees (information about which is conveniently not posted in the park or tracked by the city), kiss the right neighbor asses, and then not rock the boat. I absolutely must be willing to be a busybody who wants to control other people. Then, if I play all the right games, art will be accepted by committee! All art will be pre-approved, pre-generalized, pre-sanitized, permitted, and approved by the motherland. Violators will have their limbs severed.

    PS. I moved out of my parents house at 18. I'm quite a bit older than that now. Also, my mother's basement is dank and 2600 miles away. I don't know how you could tell I was using the internet down there, but STOP SPYING ON ME!

  86. Yes, it's only ok to vote on art if you are on the motherland art approval committee. No unregulated non-committee votes allowed!

  87. Scipio1,  I didn't compare this sculpture to David.  If you read down, you'll see caninepasta's comment “It's DEFINATELY vandalism but it is also mind stretching guerilla art.
    It's not really cool to deface another's artworks but sometimes it can
    bend the original conception.”

    If you reread my comment, i simply followed this train of thought to its logical end.  If it's okay for someone to make adjustments to other art as he or she sees fit, who is to say what pieces are fair game?

  88. Maybe the little metal boy is a felon. He was out playing with a rusty fence, as orphan boys are wont to do, and cut his arm. He asked for help from some people in Ballard, but because he's homeless they simply patted him on the head and sent him to Belltown where they assume all homeless people come from. Because we loath the idea that caring is sharing (sharing is so totally not capitalist, dude!), there was no socialized healthcare so his arm developed gangrene and had to be chopped off after he collapsed on an emergency clinic doorstep. The little metal boy's right arm was his cup-holding panhandling arm, and he couldn't support himself after it was removed and had to turn to a life of crime. He stole a Red Velvet from Cupcake Royale, was caught and tried as an adult, but then released 3 days later because the prison was overcrowded. Anyway, maybe the little metal boy is a felon.

  89. This is your opinion, son.  Not everyone considers an assault weapon in a play area to be an improvement.

  90. the cop is wrong, period. If this piece was commissioned than it belongs to those that commissioned the piece. To alter the piece, IN ANY WAY, is a crime. Just because the SPD is too busy shooting Native American woodcarvers to do their real jobs doesn't mean that its not their jobs. Pathetic!  

    the police should track the e-mail ID of the person who took credit and then “visit him” at his home and take him for a little “visit” to the police station where he can be charged with vandalism. (maybe at the same time, the police can take a class in the legal definition of “vandalism”. Pahetic and stupid!

  91. Hi, you must be new at this parenting thing. That stuff you think your kids don't know about? They know about it. Those things you think your kids aren't doing? They're doing them.

  92. No way, children totally enjoy being looked down upon and treated like they're delicate flower idiots. You haven't made a child's day until you've belittled her and made her feel small.

  93. Actually, most little kids don't give a damn about genitalia. It's the adults with all their religiously and culturally indoctrinated views that results in all the silly sexual segregation in society. Little boys and girls playing naked in the kiddie pool on a hot day really don't care until they've been taught it's bad and taboo by the adults. The grownups are those who have all the stupid hangups. Personally, I think a nice spaceship sculpture would bee cool. But most kids know that any cool space ship has laser blasters on it. I'm sure a bunch of adults would find fault with that too.

  94. it's not the vandal's art, it is the artwork of Pat Maher. that is not a hard concept to appreciate. If it was your artwork and someone WELDED something onto it, I'm quite sure you would be enraged! 

    I'm proud that this “addition” was taken off, whether it was a gun, a flower or another arm! It was the work of the commissioned artist, that's whose design won and who was paid for the work, NOT THE VANDAL! 

    Got it?!

  95. “Frankly, I don't see the difference between tagging Michaelangelo's “David” and welding anything – butterfly net or machine gun – to this piece in Meridian Park.”

    Sorry, but you did.  Tagging David would be a crime, repairing this tripe masquerading as “art” was an act of charity.

  96. Except under the SMC, this isn't vandalism. So the cop had the legal definition correct. But don't let the facts stop you from your anti-police parade.

  97. This has been interesting to observe. While I am not one for machine guns at least this rogue art has provoked some conversation. So much of public art is dull, ugly and safe. Even when it is given the description of whimical, one wants to yawn. It would be nice to see more art that inspires a stronger reaction than, “hrm… yep. There it is.”
     
     
     

  98. I don't see how it can NOT be vandalism, cool as it is. I like the addition, but the original was seriously damaged in the process, which is not ethical.

    The difference between this and the wonderful guerrilla peice of a ball and chain attached to hammering man for Labor Day, is that they in no way damaged Hammering Man. In fact, if the mayor at the time didn't have his so deeply up his behind, the best approach would have been to store the ball and chain and re-attach it every year around Labor Day.

    I don't have a problem with imagery of the Terminator style Gattling gun, butr I do what a problem with the fact that the artist damaged the original work to add it to the sculpture.

  99. Try rereading again, scipio1. “I don't see the difference in *tagging*….and *welding*.”  I didn't compare these two pieces.  I followed the logic of those who think it's acceptable to make their own additions to commissioned pieces that are considered art by some. While you might consider tagging David a crime, I am sure some artist out there would consider it acceptable self-expression to tag him. 

  100. I'm surprised and saddened that someone like fourchickens who has a fricken PhD could not be moved to something more along the lines thoughtful and less reactionary. Who is she to cackle the loudest and impose her opinion on others. What does the REST of the community think about it? What does the ARTIST think about it? As an artist I'm not sure that I wouldn't be amused myself…
    Take time to think and consult. Why act so quickly if there was no real danger? Maybe the community would take a position that you had not considered.

  101. Could you cite the actual code? They cut the arm off the statue. Can I cut the heads off “Waiting for the Interurban” and replace them with Snoopy heads?

    I'm honestly curious, because that is a serious loophole in the law.

  102. scipio1, you're wrong.  10 hours ago I posted that I would not have been happy had a butterfly net been welded to this sculpture.  It wasn't his call.

    Yes, I am proud.

  103. It looked good with the flower…  These types of “gorilla” art installations are what gives Seattle it's uniquely Northwest flavor.  This isn't spraying the troll, someone worked hard to make that statue say something, or, at least have all of us perceive it in a different light.

    The vandalism was when The Parks took it down…leaving a stump…

  104. No, they did not cut the arm off the “statue” (ahem) it was already gone.  HTH.

  105. Yes, please cite the code. If it is not vandalism, why not? If someone painted the sculpture's hat, would that be vandalism? What about intellectual property? Isn't the sculptor protected under those rights?

  106. blueben:  What do race, nationality, and gender have to do with your argument?  Do you feel that white American women should not voice their opinions? 

  107. A couple of things here in responce to both you and the OP…

    A) We only know that the person up-in-arms about this change stated about their exchange with the officer. There could be things lost in translation here; for example, it could be that the officer could not acknowledge it was vandalism on her say-so, because she's not the person/group that has controlling interest over the sculpture – this would, I assume, be the Seattle Parks Department

    B) I would assume that this falls under the definition of Property Destruction in the SMC – 12A.08.020.

  108. Are you saying you would be just as crestfallen and rush to the internet to mount a defense if a latino man walked into the park, verbally abused somebody working on an unauthorized art installation, and then made an inquisition about it? How very progressive of you!

    PS. If you get sad every time somebody else doesn't get their way, you must be so depressed!

  109. I'm not sure “Waiting for the interurban”, aka. “The most artistically defaced art installation in the world” is the example you want to use here.

  110. Stand down, son.  I pointed out an erroneous assumption that all children have seen “Terminator” and “Transformers.”   

  111. And I pointed out the erroneous assumption that your child hasn't seen them just because you don't know about it. Isn't this fun?

  112. No Mr. Benjamin Krueger, but when you start taking cheap shots at other posters you have clearly lost your argument and own relevance.  Good day sir.

  113. Yup, that's me. Nice e-stalking skills! You know that I'm in my mom's basement *and* my name!

    Yes, some of my responses are silly. But only one of us is taking them seriously. When you start sniveling about “assault weapons in the park”, it's quite clear you've stepped off the deep end and have nothing relevant to say. Don't be a hater just because I'll call you out!

    PS. Good day to you, sir! Pip Pip Cheerio!

  114. I don't think a sculpture of an assault weapon is appropriate for a child's play area.  Accusing me of “sniveling” and having “stepped off the deep end” for expressing this opinion is more of “being a hater,” son.  

  115. To the people complaining about this (especially you fourchickenlittle)… Get a grip people, its a STATUE. I see more toys in Wal-Mart with guns or weapons on them than you can shake a stick at. And don't we have three military bases right here in the region? You act like everything associated with guns is evil and immoral. Maybe in the little sheep bubbles you live in there are no bad people and no guns but in the Real World people like me protect sheep like you from Bad People because you refuse to live in a little place I like to call reality. That is what Sheepdogs do…

  116. Stop spewing your BS. What this artist did is plainly illegal.

    The Seattle Parks Code, defined in SMC 18.12.070, states in Section B: “It is unlawful for any person except a duly authorized Department of Parks and Recreation or other City employee in the performance of his or her duties, or other person duly authorized pursuant to law, to remove, destroy, MUTILATE OR DEFACE any structure, lawn, monument, STATUE, vase, fountain, wall, fence, railing, vehicle, bench, shrub, tree, geological formation, plant, flower, lighting system, sprinkling system, gate, barricade or lock or other property lawfully in any park, or to remove sand, soil, or sod in any park.” (Emphasis mine.)

    Section D goes on to state that: “Every offense defined by this section or conduct made unlawful hereby shall constitute a crime subject to the provisions of Chapters 12A.02 and 12A.04 of this Code (Seattle Criminal Code) and any person convicted of such crime may be punished by a fine in any sum not to exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000) or by imprisonment in the City Jail for a term not to exceed one (1) year, or by both such fine and imprisonment.”

  117. (Since you keep repeating your lies, I'm going to repeat my rebuttal.)

    Stop spewing your BS. What this artist did is plainly illegal.

    The
    Seattle Parks Code, defined in SMC 18.12.070, states in Section B: “It
    is unlawful for any person except a duly authorized Department of Parks
    and Recreation or other City employee in the performance of his or her
    duties, or other person duly authorized pursuant to law, to remove,
    destroy, MUTILATE OR DEFACE any structure, lawn, monument, STATUE, vase,
    fountain, wall, fence, railing, vehicle, bench, shrub, tree, geological
    formation, plant, flower, lighting system, sprinkling system, gate,
    barricade or lock or other property lawfully in any park, or to remove
    sand, soil, or sod in any park.” (Emphasis mine.)

    Section D goes
    on to state that: “Every offense defined by this section or conduct made
    unlawful hereby shall constitute a crime subject to the provisions of
    Chapters 12A.02 and 12A.04 of this Code (Seattle Criminal Code) and any
    person convicted of such crime may be punished by a fine in any sum not
    to exceed Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000) or by imprisonment in the City
    Jail for a term not to exceed one (1) year, or by both such fine and
    imprisonment.”

  118. Actually, the erection of new billboards within Seattle city limits is illegal and has been illegal for decades in Seattle. I'm not sure I'd find it “demoralizing”, but I definitely wouldn't think it was “normal”, and I'd sure as hell report it to the Department of Planning and Development, who would contact the property owner and tell them to remove it or face a stiff fine.

    If you don't like that the world is full of corporate graffiti, work to stop the proliferation of corporate graffiti. Turning a blind eye (or even promoting) the proliferation of crap like this isn't a positive response, and two wrongs don't cancel each other out. This artist has a right to make a statement, and his statement may well be one that people need to hear. But that doesn't give him the right to mutilate other people's art and property. He needs to find his own venue.

    (PS You can see the reason for the ban in old photos of relatively residential streets like Madison which used to have dozens of billboards along them: http://clerk.seattle.gov/~scri

  119. Thanks Blueben. It's a sad tale, but I figure that's exactly what happened too. Someone should make a bronze plaque out of your story and place it underneath the little armless metal boy.

  120. The City of Seattle has a specific Parks Code, which appears to be much broader than the generic Property Destruction code, making it illegal to “remove, destroy, mutilate or deface” pretty much anything in a city park. Of course, as with the term “vandalism” (which is used several times in the SMC), none of those terms are explicitly defined. But, to echo the sentiments of others, if this doesn't count as mutilation or defacement, what on earth does?

  121. As always there is more to the story. The arm has been missing for years without repair, the original artist apparently knows but hasn't fixed it. (And maybe there is no money to pay for upkeep – maybe since he sold it, he *can't* fix it. Maybe he doesn't care – we don't know.)

    Still, *someone* likely the city, owns the work. If it's the city, then it “belongs” to all city residents, presumably with some process to decide how things like fixing a piece of broken sculpture get done.

    While I think it still probably falls into the category of vandalism, I think it's a shame the city took it down so quickly.  It certainly has generated a lot of thoughtful debate.

  122. Mr. Krueger, I am not crestfallen and did not rush to the internet to mount a defense.  I have no knowledge that anyone was verbally abused (except perhaps on this forum.)

    However, had it been a Latino man who tweeted that he felt demoralized when the police could do nothing, I would have offered my support to him too.  It's interesting to be told by a young white man that *I* am progressive. 

    As for getting sad “every time somebody else doesn't get their way”:  I'm not sad, and this isn't about the lady not getting her way.  She was attacked for publicly expressing her feelings about something she felt was morally wrong. 

    If you directed your energy to community activism and support instead of trolling, Mr. Krueger, you might make a difference.

  123. Yeah, that changes things slightly for me, but I don't know about the law.

    blueben -I think “Waiting for the Interurban” is a fine example. At least viewing its from a from a distance, people put all kinds of clothes on it, but they don't cut bits from it and add second heads. One respectfully adds a temporary statement, the other would permanently alter the original.

  124. The now-classic children's story Where the Wild Things Are (which most children love) was originally banned from libraries by parents because it is an honest story about a child's anger. Isn't that basically what's happening here today?

  125. To think, it some hoods actual kids wield actual guns at each other. I'd rather live in a neighborhood where a statue waves a gun, not my neighbors 15 yr old.

    Life in Seattle's Great White North: Mayberry on the Sound.

  126. It wasn't mutilated or defaced.  The arm was aleady gone and the statue was added to not tagged.

  127. Okay, that was pretty funny Barfly! 🙂

    I just wish this artist had spent his time restoring the statue instead.   His comments on the Wallyhood blog sound as if he recognized the flaw on the original design that caused the arm to fall off in the first place. 

    Perhaps his next installation could be whatever”sheep bubble” is, complete with a machine gun, over at Bravura's place.

  128. Personally, I think he should have weld on a giant vibrator as most of the mothers I meet in Wallingford are in dire need of one.

  129. The statue wasn't mutilated, the arm was already gone.  And it wasn't defaced, no one tagged it.

  130. OMG   Have you lost your mind?  comparing Michaelangelo to a little rusting ill cared for piece 0f….?

  131. was thinking more of the stark contrast of the safety of a playground in Wallingford against the silent image of a child with a gun and what that says about an area like Wallingford's isolationism… but I suppose that was a little deep.

  132. Truly spoken like someone who wasn't there.  I am not white, and neither were many of my friends.  Now, there may be a few more non-whites, but they are indeed all filthy rich.  Much less diverse today, friend.  HTH.

    ps: think before your type next time.

  133. The legal definition of vandalism requires malicious intent. Where is the malice in adding a replacement ARM to a broken statue that has been without repair or upkeep for years? I think this is a perfect metaphor for the destruction of boyhood not by the toy gun but by the overreach of intrusive government that amputates our manhood.

  134. This is simply outstanding Performance Art.  Consider:

    1. Progressives go to University, taking classes from tenured 60s radicals telling them great stories about how they mocked The Man, back in the day.  And how this reduced The Man to spittle-flecked rage and depression that his philosophy wasn't being respected.

    2. SeattleMama posts, “I'm surprised and saddened that someone like fourchickens who has a
    fricken PhD could not be moved to something more along the
    lines thoughtful and less reactionary. Who is she to cackle the loudest
    and impose her opinion on others. What does the REST of the community
    think about it? What does the ARTIST think about it?”

    3. “What does the ARTIST think”? Goto 1.

    I think that SeattleMama must be a plant, acting as part of the Performance Art.  Otherwise, she doesn't realize that in Seattle, she's become The Man.  And mockery is today as potent as those soissante-huiards had found.

  135. hi fourchickens.  you tweet non-stop.  perhaps you might put your efforts toward feeding some of the homeless instead of worrying so much about a sculpture.

  136. If Jeanne doesn't approve of the art, it's “vandalism.”  Busy body. Somebody weld a sense of humor to Jeanne.

  137. Well What a prat you turn out to be, as I have looked at all the posted replies you have made and all they are like a kid of 6 taking a jibe instead of being constructive. I don”t need English Lessons you Moron as I am English.

  138. Nope. The constitution establishes the right of congress to grant patents and copyrights, but only to advance the arts and sciences and for the benefit of the public. It was only put in after a great deal of intense debate by the original writers; Jefferson didn't want them in there at all, feeling that there were plenty of other avenues for inventors and writers to make money without monopolizing their creations. Ben Franklin never even filed patents on his inventions. (Oh no! Does this mean Jefferson and Franklin were freetards?) Neither a copyright or a patent is “property”. It isn't real, it doesn't get taxed, and it disappears after a set period of time.
    Are you really so shallow that you thought I was talking about everything being free? How infantile. Come back when you're ready to have a grown-up conversation instead of reducing the conversation to insults like “freetard”.

  139. Given that the machine arm is now gone, plainly it was not a permanent installation.

  140. It was mounted in a public park. It's not Pat Maher's art anymore, it's our art.

  141. Ah yes, because nothing says reasonable like bandying the politically charged phrase “assault weapon” in a conversation about art.

    PS. I wasn't going to point this out, but if you're going to keep shrieking “assault weapon”, I'm going to have to point out that the phrase has a very specific legal definition, and this gun doesn't meet it. Generally speaking, assault weapons are semi-automatic with detachable magazines and pistol grips. Machine guns in the style attached to the little metal boy aren't assault weapons. If you're going to use alarmist rhetoric in the conversation, please have the decency to use the *correct* alarmist rhetoric.