Thursday, October 18, 2007
I live at the mall. No, really, I do . . .
Word reaches us from Providence (via Greg Cook) that artist Michael Townsend was recently sentenced for his ongoing project, The Apartment at the Mall (above), a "studio apartment" he furnished in an abandoned space deep in the bowels of the Providence Place parking garage. Townsend, his wife, Adriana Yoto, and several artist pals had been furnishing the space and/or actually living there for four years before mall security spotted Townsend leaving the "loft" just a few weeks ago.
The artists claim they spirited two tons worth of stuff into the space during their "residency," including "a sectional sofa, a love seat, a coffee table, a breakfast table with four chairs, lamps, a throw rug, a hutch (at left) and paintings." According to the Providence Journal, despite ongoing efforts to make the space "super-sweet," "Townsend acknowledged that the lack of certain creature comforts, after a while, tended to sap the thrill of being there." Ironically enough, the space was even burglarized during the artists' stay - the thieves made off with the group's Sony Playstation. Townsend pleaded no contest to charges of trespassing, and was sentenced to six months’ probation; he must also pay court costs and an unstated sum of restitution - a combination of plea and disposition that does not constitute a criminal conviction under state law.
As for Providence Place, employees are still recovering from the artistic intervention. Mall spokesman Dante Bellini Jr. explained that "“It was wrong on a number of levels . . . [we] certainly feel violated." At left is a sample of the hardened criminal's previous activity, a work of "tape art" called "Grass." More tape art installations can be seen here.