Duke Riley: news from the [water] front

under arrest

securing the acorn

This story had legs from the start, sea legs. Barry and I were watching it on line as it grew all day yesterday, and apparently it's still going.

I would say that this late and abbreviated post were redundant except that I want to broadcast the respect for Duke Riley that we both share, and also to refer to our early immersion in the larger story of his remarkable art, including a wide-eyed visit to the first solo show at Magnan Projects in January last year. Then there was also the excitement of being able to share my own personal connection to and love for Rhode Island, the School of Design, Newport, and the little bicycle shop down my block on the corner of Brook Street, all sites associated with the still-unfolding story of the "Acorn" submersible project.

Don't miss the slide show or the video on the NYTimes site.

My favorite take on the reaction of our guardians of public safety to the artist's marine intervention? Libby and Roberta:

The Coast Guard and police didn't think Riley's floating bobber was so amusing and the boat was confiscated and he and his accomplices were charged with "marine mischief." Talk about hammering a fly! Nobody seems to have a sense of humor or whimsy anymore, especially when it comes to imaginative art outside the normal channels. Now that's a crime.

[images by Damon Winter from NYTimes slide show]

As I was futzing around the studio early Friday I began to hear reports on WCBS 88 News radio about a mysterious "egg shaped" vessel violating the security space around the Queen Mary II, near my neighborhood in Red Hook Brooklyn. Because of scanning you and Barry's blogs I knew in a split second that this sounded suspiciously like an art performance by Duke Riley.

As for over reaction, unfortunately when next we are hit, there will be a chorus of screams as to why "da guberment" didnt connect all the dots. As one who was active in rad politics in the 60's, we just accepted the tough response, no whining about the black eyes or tear gas when you challenge the "big boys". The confiscation of the "Acorn" presents an opportunity to keep this project in front of the public as it winds its way through the courts for years.

Also let's not forget that there were people (Europeans) who called the attacks of 9-11 the "greatest art work in history".