Something was gained, but something was lost in there too.
It's encouraging that the City listened to the community on this, especially recognizing that Dude Chilling Park is a better locator for all of us who use this rare bit of green space in Mount Pleasant. That would mostly be the dog people who have been referring to this meeting spot by some version of that name since the public art piece of the tubular reclining dude by Denman Island artist Michael Dennis was installed there back in 1991 when the area was still pretty sketchy.
So, yeah, it's kind of fun to have that sign back — it even made a line for the Jimmy Kimmel show — but it's lost its original spontaneous, anti-authoriarian potency.
The clever appropriation of the existing untitled structure, its meaning and apparent materials speaks of the appropriation of this land. I loved that the extra zero had all the cold, inhumane appearance of the existing cast concrete but was knocked off in painted rigid foam. If art is about afflicting the comfortable, creating some community dialogue or shaking up public preconceptions, this was working.
I've searched for any information on what genius did it (and how it was installed) and the circumstances for its sudden disappearance. Was it completely unsanctioned, or part of a past public art biennale?
Both the Dude Chilling Park sign and the third zero are beautifully crafted urban landscape interventions but it's the one that was mysteriously removed that keeps me thinking about our social history.