Guerilla Art Gone Awry?

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15th and L Street, NW

Thanks to all who emailed about yesterday’s major street closures around 15th and L St, NW. (I was away from the computer and wasn’t able to post.) Though this morning a reader notes that the Play With Me firebox guerilla art was removed:

“…Anyway, when the bomb squad left, it was gone, so I’m guessing that they took it.”

Can’t image that was the cause for such a large closure:

play with me

14 Comment

  • I’m pretty sure this wasn’t the cause.

    • As unbelievable as it sounds, it actually was.

      I work directly across the street and watch the bomb squad technician working on this box during the street closure. It looked a scene from The Hurt Locker.

      • Yep, no one was being allowed in or out of our building because of the threat and police told us the firebox art was the threat…

        A coworker saw technicians working on this spot, as well as another spot closer to WaPo building.

      • Are you kidding me? Why did they think this was a bomb threat??

        • I also work right there. This installation has been there for weeks. A bystander had some vague notion that there was bomb-related text included on the artwork, which I guess could have theoretically been added recently. But, my theory is that it was just hysterical tourists coming from a nearby hotel.

        • no bureaucrat is going to risk being wrong about a potential bomb threat. so, even absurd things like this are going to be treated like major threats to our democracy and way of life. its sad but i can sympathize with the authorities given the political climate and the way we react to terrorist threats.

      • Thanks for the update Bob. This incident is the perfect DC analogy: making a shit show of something benign and harmless.

  • I hope not.
    Question though… are there any “rules” when it comes to these?
    there are so many that would look much better if someone touched up the paint on them but do you have to fear a cop bothering you for “defacing” property if caught painting one?

    • saf

      They are owned by DDOT. For years, they had an agreement with the Commission on the Arts and Humanities to allow community groups to paint them and install art. The groups were able to get permits to work on public property. DDOT retained the right to take out the boxes if necessary for public spaces reasons.

      Not all the boxes in the city were part of that program, so not all of them were done – a lot of them did not have interested community groups, and the funding was SO little that it ran out quickly.

      So….

  • Remember when Adult Swim put those guerrilla art installations all over Boston and it shut the city down?

    • I was JUST going to type that. They were Lite Brites! That was the worst commute of my life!!!! I was living in Malden and worked in Downtown Crossing. It was -37 with the windchill, I spent 2 hours with 1000 of my closest friends outside Malden St. and in Sullivan Square (uncovered stations), waiting for a bus to take me to work. Thanks to being low on the pecking order, I had no leave and had to tough it out to make it in.

      I remember watching a squad take care of one of the Lite Brites – it had a picture of an alien on it – and feeling so freaking sorry for myself. That really was one of the most miserable experiences.

  • Yes. A few years ago a friend was threatened with arrest for painting one in Columbia heights

  • “Cut the silver wire first.”
    “No! Cut the silver wire first!”

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