The Little Weed that Could

Paul Druecke gets more than he bargained for with Bright Sun Partial Shade

Despite the element of absurdity the letter added to his project, Druecke had a mixed reaction to it. "At first I thought that it was funny and interesting, and in the end, I was a little disturbed at having been left out of almost all of it." He crafted a response that patiently re-explained his work and the ideas behind it: "My projects examine the organization and control of our public space. I am interested in how the individual fits into the abstract notion of ownership with regards to the public space." Druecke added that when Turner's office responded to say he would be unable to make the unveiling, it "would have been an ideal time to ask me any questions."

In this simple, low-budget work, Druecke explored a range of issues, not the least of which was why public art so often sucks. And why the few good artists who suffer through the process wind up with a case of post-traumatic stress syndrome. Protecting turf and covering your ass -- making sure everyone follows the letter of the law rather than its intent -- is apparently far more important to city officials than the art itself.

Artist, event speaker and master of ceremonies Laura Lark had her own take on the controversy generated by Druecke's gift of a dinky paper plant. "What they should really do," she said, "is fine us for littering."

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