City Desk

Neighborhood Watch: Adams Morgan Residents Clash on “Bicycle Musician”

DCCAH_AdamsMorgan_Plaza_JamesSimon_9-1.18.09The Issue: Adams Morgan residents are arguing over the question "What is art" after a sculpture called "Bicycle Musician" was approved in June for the plaza at Columbia and Adams Mill Roads. The design was chosen in April from among three finalists in an online survey conducted by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH). The two other finalists were "Sunflowers" (towering flowers blooming over the square) and "Adamor Circle" (a green abstract sphere). Should the biking man stay or go?

It's Art: The sculpture did win the survey, even if only 100 people took part: Chris, writing on the Adams Morgan listserv, says, "I find the sculpture quirky and bright and a tad over the top. Reflects the neighborhood."

If It's Art, I Don't Want It In My Neighborhood: Some residents feel the official poll was too small to reflect the wishes of the broader community (in a larger online survey at the blog Greater Greater Washington, "Bicycle Musician" came in last.) John, also writing on the listserv, says, "Why, oh why must all Adams Morgan public art look like it was designed to appeal to toddlers? This is pretty bad."

Next Step: Rachel Dickerson, spokesman for DCCAH, told City Desk that due to large community input, both “pro and against,” DCCAH has submitted a revised version of the bicycle sculpture based on the recommendations of the Commission of Fine Arts Board. DCCAH has been meeting this week to discuss the sculpture, so check back Friday for more information on the finalized version.

Image courtesy of DCCAH

UPDATE: Gloria Nauden, spokesman for DCCAH, confirmed on the Adams Morgan listserv that the bicycle sculpture has indeed been tabled. She says, "art is incredibly subjective...and we want to ensure the art is reflective of the Adams Morgan community."

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  • Anonymous

    You don't have to wait till Friday, the DCCAH has tabled the is no the neighborhood can go back to its regularly scheduled bitching about rats, kids, and weekend drunks...

  • anon

    DCCAH has submitted a revised version of the bicycle sculpture based on the recommendations of the Commission of Fine Arts Board.

    Only in DC would a committee edit a work of art. This town is all about polishing turds.

  • Mike Licht

    Whimsy is a poor choice for Public Art. While it may seem charming at first glance, it becomes annoying when you have to live with it.

    What works is something with complexity, work that keeps you thinking -- and looking.

  • Jamie

    I don't hate the sculpture as much as most seem to (from the mockup picture anyway) but I agree with Mike. And it's huge - Adams Morgan just got this nice open corner space, and it would be entirely consumed with that thing? The others seemed less intrusive or offered function (e.g. benches) as well as form.

  • Downtown Rez


  • Chris O.

    Chris Otten here. ANC Commissioner in AdMo/Kal neighborhoods. I find it interesting that the author of this Washington City Paper blog post refers to the a Yahoogroups listserve poster as Chris, when the link supplied refers to a post by "drusefton" ...
    I believe Community input is especially important if it will affect our lives on an almost daily basis.
    Has input been had, yes. Has the community spoken? Define community. And how about defining input. The key is the feedback loops -- if they don't close, they remain open. If they are left open, is the community truly informed?
    The sun is hot as the ozone layer keeps thinning thanks to clean coal. That spectacular new promenade at 18th & Adams Mill/Columbia will be quite warm at high noon. There might be a $200,000.00 bounty out for you.
    Don't let the Fenty trickle-down philosophy permeate your brain.
    Please feel free to contact me anytime.
    Click the link.