Arthur Wood, the 87-year-old artist who lived and worked in Clinton Hill’s famous Broken Angel house for more than 30 years, was evicted in 2013 after the city deemed the building unsafe. Due to timing and logistics, Wood was forced to leave some of his art behind. Now, the developer who bought the property and turned it into condos is using the art in those condos without Wood’s permission, according to DNAinfo.
Developer Alex Barrett, who bought the building for $4.1 million dollars, apparently did not include Wood’s art in the deal, but used it anyway. Two concrete angel faces are hanging in the building’s entryway, and another terra cotta sculpture fragment is embedded into a wall.
Wood told DNAinfo,
“It is heartbreaking,” Wood said. “They have taken my home and now my artwork.”
“And they clipped the angels’ wings,” he added referring to the fact that the developer used only the angels’ faces in his design and not the full 30-foot sculptures that also included wings.
“My artwork is now also out of context,” he said. “To me that is like chopping of the head of the Mona Lisa and using it in a Starbucks ad.”
Condos in the building start at $1.125 million. DNAinfo notes that it’s unclear if Wood has legal claim to the art, and that Wood has no plans to sue. Barrett didn’t respond to DNAinfo’s requests for comment.
Whether or not the use of the art is legal, it’s certainly in poor taste.
(Photo: Michael Tapp)