After waking up a bit groggy from the festivities of the Urban Play opening party last night, I went for a walk around the installation sites to see how they had progressed after their first night in the public realm, and, well, I got a little more than I had expected when looking for Stefan Sagmeister’s piece: it was gone.
I had asked Stefan to create a new work for Urban Play, and his piece – a sentence designed using 250,000 Euro cent coins – blew me and everyone away each day as it progressed. I had expected a certain ebb and flow to take place within the piece, which is of course the point of the entire Urban Play project, but to have the entire thing completely disappear overnight was more than anyone had expected. After recovering from the shock, I did some research and discovered that the story behind its removal was stranger than anything I could have imagined.
It seems that the Amsterdam police were called by a resident of one of the overlooking buildings early Sunday morning to report that someone was “stealing an artwork”. As the story goes, people were pocketing a few of the coins, which was also expected, but things got a bit out of hand when a resident saw this happening. So the police responded, and, in a rather bizarre instance of police efficiency, they proceeded to “secure” the artwork, by sweeping up the entire installation.
The event is superbly captured on the flickr page of anjens, who lives in a flat overlooking the site.
I will update with more info if and when I get any, but for now, I’d like to give my huge thanks to Sagmeister’s team of Joe Shouldice and Richard The, who along with an amazing team of volunteers worked for many days, literally from dawn to dusk, to install the piece. It was a beautiful addition to the Urban Play project, and will be sorely missed.
For now, let’s remember the way it was on Sagmeister’s page on the project.
UPDATE: So, the police say we can have the coins back. Anyone want to suggest what we do with them now?