Sections

CB 4 skeptical of library art

Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

The new Elmhurst Library will be three stories tall and feature a permanent art fixture, officials announced last week at a Community Board 4 meeting, but the nature of that installation was the subject of controversy among board members.

The $11.3 million facility is still in the design stages, said Kelly Pajek, the city Cultural Affairs Department Percent for Art program deputy director. She displayed several sketches depicting a large, contemporary-styled structure with large glass windows.

Percent for Art dedicates 1 percent of the budget for a new public building to a permanent art piece.

Manhattan-based artist Allan McCollum won the competition for the installation, though Pajek said Cultural Affairs did consider artists from Queens. McCollum, an established artist who works in mass production techniques, proposed an installation of perhaps 1,000 unique wooden shapes carved from elm in tribute to the community's namesake. The shapes, roughly 6 inches in diameter, would be mounted on a panel against the walls of the new library's adult reading room.

Community board members were more than a little skeptical. Many complained the work ignored the community's history and traditions.

"That's a Rorschach test," said one board member of the wooden shape McCollum brought as an example.

Member Carmela George asked if the project would include any non-abstract art.

"Years ago, when they did buildings, they had pictures of immigrants. I'm sure that's all pass now, but they're just losing the whole 'art' thing."

"Maybe there's a way to incorporate the history and richness of the culture with the art," said Roseanne Geiger.

"Which customs do you choose?" McCollum said, noting 150 languages are spoken in Queens. "My idea was to transcend the specific and express the concept of diversity through all these shapes."

"Just one, just the history, period," George replied.

Not all board members were critical of the proposed piece, however. Member Clara Salas called the artwork "a breath of fresh air."

Plans for the new library raised a minor outcry from history buffs interested in preserving the old building, which was erected in 1906.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

Updated 6:58 pm, October 10, 2011
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Reader feedback

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

Classifieds

Do you know a hero of Queens? Nominate a person who has made a difference for the Queens Impact Awards.
Community News Group

Don’t miss out!

Stay in touch with the stories people are talking about in your neighborhood:

Optional: Help us tailor our newsletters to you!