Created by internationally celebrated artist Olek, who is in town as part of Virginia MOCA’s completely rad exhibit, “Turn the Page: The First Ten Years of Hi-Fructose.”
Thank you for the image, @twitteringbird (who is quite a fine artist herself.)
Here is what Olek had to say about this project on her Instagram:
Art in general can inspire and initiate change. Hopefully public art forces people to take a pause and makes them stop staring into the ground or their iPhones. They can focus on the art that is jumping out at them.
My work is never finished – the continuous response of the viewers makes the art. My contribution is the tool that helps people realize their own expressions. I hope that it proves that all things are interconnected. I want to bring color, life, energy, and surprise to the living space. I want to reach more and more people and inspire them to question, think, act and enjoy.
To me, being an artist means having the responsibility to illustrate and talk about the current, not always comfortable, situation worldwide. Since we are facing a global ecological crisis, I wanted to draw attention to the health of our oceans. When you look at the statue of King Neptune, what does he symbolize for you? Do you think he’s happy with the current situation of the health of the oceans? Are there things that you can do in your daily life to help, like limiting your use of plastic bags and bottles? As a lone artist I know I cannot make these statements alone, so I invited the local community to participate adding their voices to mine. If we all work together we can solve issues and make the world a better place. ~ Olek, June 13, 2016
Artist, Paul DiPasquale originally created this iconic statue of King Neptune. It was dedicated to the City of Virginia Beach on September 30, 2005. In mythology, King Neptune is the Roman god of the seas. This thirty-four foot sculpture stands as a welcoming figure to beach visitors while reminding us to take better care of the seas. Olek’s interaction with King Neptune has taken place with DiPasquale’s knowledge and participation. Her positive and colorful intervention on King Neptune serves as powerful reminder of DiPasquale’s original intention. Because of us, the oceans are in dire straits. But, through our actions as good stewards of the natural world, we can restore our waters and live in harmony with our environment.
Olek, who is NYC-based, has has been extremely productive in her time here. Check out this piece:
According to MOCA’s Dot Greene, “The articles, which are completely legible, speak about globally banned plastic bags, reforestation on the rise and the lead story; ‘More Underwater Parks Than on Land.'”
Kamikaze public art, alright! Get yours, VB. This is fantastic.
Update #1: We can’t have nice things. Check the Pilot story below:
Update #2: Via Virginia MOCA:
Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is removing the crochet work it commissioned for the King Neptune sculpture at the oceanfront, at the behest of the artist, when the museum declined to deviate from the city-approved, contracted proposal.
The artist, Olek, approached museum staff about the addition of a gas mask concept last week. Although MOCA and the city embraced her message of ocean conservation, the addition was not part of the approved proposal. While the museum was certainly willing to entertain other ideas and work with Olek to create the appropriate iconology that would convey the message, Olek took liberties beyond the scope of her contract and inserted her personal agenda.
The intent of the artwork was to bring awareness to the devastating impacts on our water when plastic and other contaminates are discarded into our oceans. “As a contemporary art advocate, MOCA contracted this public art installation because we support the responsibility we all have to protect our natural resources,” said Debi Gray, Executive Director of MOCA.
“It’s truly unfortunate that Olek is unwilling to execute the remainder of the project without the mask,” said Gray “We placed a lot of trust in her and are dismayed that she would take advantage of that.”