Global Warming

D.C. Cancels Climate Change Art Exhibition, Claims It Sends Wrong Message

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

The D.C. Commission for the Arts and Humanities canceled an upcoming climate change art installation, which featured a mostly submerged gas station, because it sends the wrong message.

Mia Feuer’s “ANTIDELUVIAN” will not be installed this fall at Kingman Lake, near the Anacostia River.

A spokesman from United for a Healthy Anacostia River, a coalition of environmental and business groups, compared the art project to excrement.

While the commission says it’s “working to relocate the temporary project outside of the Anacostia River and vicinity,” Feuer says the project was banned and permanently canceled.

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"In a city of words, it presents an image demanding an intelligent alternative to cars, gas, and oil, in the center of the nation’s capital," Feuer wrote of the concept.

UHAR spokesman Doug Siglin told CSN Washington that the art installation inspires just the opposite and could encourage people to pollute the river.

"It's in the wrong place," Siglin said. "Let me tell you some things that don't belong in the Anacostia River: toxic chemicals, excrement, oil and gas, trash, tired [sic], cars, refrigerators and art projects."

“Given the many years of community investment and hard work to clean up and change the negative perception of the Anacostia River, this kind of project should never have been approved without broad stakeholder consultation,” UHAR told the art commission in a letter, according to Grist.

The letter says people will misinterpret the artwork “as permission to put gas or oil in the river, [and] the project could single-handedly set back the river restoration and undo years of effort on the part of the DC, Montgomery County and Prince Georges County governments to convince people to keep oil out of the water.”

In her Indiegogo blog, Feuer wrote that community members “called my piece an eye sore, said that it would be like ‘a crying baby in a museum’ and even said that it could provoke the public to ‘dump oil in the river.’”

“In the meantime, I am in dialogue with many other folks about the possibility of showing this piece in another location, at another time,” she added.

Sources: Grist, CSN Washington