In our recent post about Coney Island’s soon-to-be-demolished Feltman’s kitchen, one of the photos taken from Jones Walk shows the mural on the west wall of the historic building. Take another look because the Rita Ackermann mural is said to be worth $250,000 and the building is not long for this world. Yesterday the City’s contractors were observed removing the roof of the hot dog inventor’s kitchen.
“I co-curated the Dreamland Artist Club and have happy memories of working with Rita,” Powers told ATZ. “Although I would estimate the value of the mural at $250,000, it is but a fraction of what Steeplechase Park, Luna Park and a hundred other monuments in Coney Island have been worth. The mural may meet its doom but its memory will remind us how dumb progress can be sometimes.”
It’s ironic that public art which was created in response to real estate development changing the landscape and character of Coney Island is itself endangered by redevelopment. Powers teamed up with Creative Time, the non-profit public art agency, to bring artists to Coney Island to create new signage for the stands along the Walk and the Bowery. The first year’s funding was $80,000. When the murals and signage debuted in June 2004, Powers told the Times: “A large percentage of them will be up forever.” Powers own work, including the Cyclone roller coaster seats and “Bump Your Ass Off” signs for the Eldorado Bumper Cars are thankfully still with us and look like they’ve been here forever.
The Brooklyn Rail’s review of the Dreamland Artist Club included this description of Ackermann’s mural: “With an aura of danger and seduction, snake charmers, acrobats, and sword throwers return to Coney Island in Rita Ackermann’s 50-foot mural above Jones Walk. Graphically rendered in black, white, and golden yellow against the background of the Cyclone’s sweeping arcs, Ackermann’s femme fatales twirl and pose high above the crowds promoting a demonic carnival of darker, hidden attractions.”
ATZ contacted Rita Ackermann via her gallery, but we haven’t yet received a response. If you happen to know the artist, please tell her to get ready to add the word “demolished” to her resume.
Related posts on ATZ…
January 25, 2010: Bruce Handy’s Photo Album: Doomed Dreamland Artist Club Mural
January 19, 2010: Nathan Slept Here! Coney Island’s Feltman’s Kitchen Set for Demolition
January 11, 2010: Steeplechase Pool, Zip Coaster Sites to Be De-Mapped for Housing
October 9, 2009: A Rare Peek Inside Endangered Old Bank of Coney Island