It's the spirit of old "We're pioneering artists" SoHo versus new "I'm flipping this condo" SoHo: The owners of a building on the southwest corner of Houston and Broadway are fighting to take down a sculpture on the outside wall of the building. Known as "The Wall," and also a landmark, according to the city's Landmarks Commission, Forrest Myers' 1973 sculpture consists of aluminum beams sticking out of the wall; it hasn't been there the past two years because it went in for repair. This issue has been roiling for a while, and the condo at 599 Broadway says they either want the city to pay them for the lost advertising revenue for having the sculpture there (read: "We couldn't get sexy, possibly underage Calvin Klein underwear ads on this wall all these years!") or get rid of the sculpture. The SoHo Alliance says, "SoHo is not for sale. Public art is not temporary." But, the Post reports, a judge will decide whether or not the Landmark Preservation Commission has "taken away the condominium board's private property without just compensation."
This brings up an interesting issue: Will NYC public art have to be subsidized by corporations or government when the economy is doing well and real estate owners and developers are less willing to give up space? Say what you will about Mayor Bloomberg, but he has made strides to increase the importance of public arts projects. And, yes, Gothamist was humming off-key from Pink Floyd's The Wall as we wrote this.
Photo of the Wall from Downtown Express