Monday, November 19, 2007

An Artists' Hidden Fort in the Mall

"Starting in 2003 I committed to the idea of creating a luxury apartment in the mall." Michael J. Townsend said. Himself and 7 other artists illegally snuck into a mall, found themselves an unused room and walled it off.

"During its construction I identified the 750 sq. foot space that the apartment currently occupies. The space was used to store materials during the mall’s construction and remained classifiably underutilized and abandoned once the mall opened," Michael said.
The artist was recently arrested, and pleaded no contest to trespassing charges. He claimed the project as performance art, and considers himself a "professional public artist".
“It was wrong on a number of levels,” Dante Bellini Jr., mall spokesman, added. “It was certainly wrong in its irresponsibility. And it was illegal. It was like a person breaking into your basement or your car at night and sleeping there … [We] certainly feel violated.”
Many police offivers were so intrigued by word of the apartment that they went over to see it for themselves.
“I was surprised at what he was able to accomplish,” said a police officer of Townsend. “But what he did was clearly criminal. That mall is private property.”
“The only regret I have is that I didn’t get to continue,” artist Townsend remarked after being caught. “I’m really sad about it.”
This is not the first, and probably not the last project, that Michael Townsend and his artist friends will attempt to pursue, more info on the apartment in the mall and other projects can be found on his website at:

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