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Swapping High Art and a Vacant Home in KC to Make a Point

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Troost Avenue in Kansas City is viewed as a street that straddles the city's racial divide. For "City of Fountains," a piece of social and political commentary centered around conceptual art, local artist A. Bitterman wants to bring attention to that division with a stunt that reads like a serious senior prank. He wants to swap Henry Moore's Sheep Piece, a sculpture outside the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (west of Troost Avenuve) with a very real symbol of the other side of the line—a boarded up, vacant house.

The image of a large bronze sculpture that almost looks like magnified body parts sandwiched between two otherwise average suburban homes is rich, but so is the inverse—a drab one-level next to Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen's Shuttlecocks (which by the way, is a giant version of an object used in badminton, potentially the whitest sport of all time).

Bitterman pitched the proposal in 2011 with a series of postcards. One shows an image of the sculpture in its new setting, complete with security guard and a cursive caption that reads "City of Fountains," while another has a less discrete message:

"By radically altering context through a simple exchange, a condemned house from a forgotten landscape becomes a thing of aching beauty and a catalyst for despair, while a prized artifact from an idyllic landscape becomes a portal, so that in each case a new narrative is made readily available." The Nelson-Atkins Museum has yet to show any interest.

· A Vacant House That Should Become Public Art [CityLab]
· All Artistry posts [Curbed National]