Who the fuck stabs public art?

I don’t know that it’s quite as bad as the grisly murder of the hitchhiking Canadian robot that had been sent to America to learn about empathy and trust only to be torn limb from limb a few days into his trip like C3PO in Cloud City, but, this morning, when my kids pointed out that a piece of artwork installed in Riverside Park by the DIA had been repeatedly stabbed, I felt the same kind of sadness wash over me… Who in the fuck kills a robot that just exists to say “hello” and ask for a ride? And who repeatedly stabs a painting of a little bear cub making its way down a river in a boat?




Speaking Hitchbot, the helpless robot from up north who was kicked apart in the City of Brotherly Love and left for dead in an alley, you can be certain that someday, when the robots rise up, the phrase “Remember Hitchbot” will be on their cold, metal lips.

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  1. Taco Farts
    Posted August 10, 2015 at 2:47 am | Permalink

    People who know their future has been pre-fucked and that they can do nothing about it.

  2. Eel
    Posted August 10, 2015 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Not everyone likes the later work of George Caleb Bingham.

  3. Jean Henry
    Posted August 10, 2015 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I thought the same thing yesterday AM. The answer: drunk people.

  4. anonymous
    Posted August 10, 2015 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    It’s not an excuse, but the bear in that painting is terrifying. It has no face.

  5. Mr. X
    Posted August 10, 2015 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Maybe it’s this guy?


  6. Kurt Anschuetz
    Posted August 10, 2015 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    I think stabing is different than typical vandalism. Drunks might pee on it or throw a bottle through it but stabbing is a repeated violent process. It’s very crappy that happened in any case.

  7. Teresa Gillotti
    Posted August 10, 2015 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Funny – the last two times we’ve had art in the park there were no issues. And the first time – we had folks building onto the art frame to add more art.

  8. Posted August 10, 2015 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    The first time the DIA put art in the park:


  9. Posted August 10, 2015 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Who puts anything up in public and assumes it won’t be vandalized? This sounds like a failure to consider the inevitable.

    And for the record, I support the stabbing of art. Art gets nowhere by endlessly venerating the old and tired. Art is as much creation as destruction.

  10. Posted August 10, 2015 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    As for HitchBot, it appears there is some suspicion that it wasn’t just a random vandal but rather some bloggers that killed it.

    Either way, I’m glad that HitchBot is dead. It was a stupid idea.

  11. Kit
    Posted August 10, 2015 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    “I support the stabbing of art” should be a button.

  12. Jean Henry
    Posted August 10, 2015 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I would love to believe that this was an act of protest against the hegemony of white male dominated art world. Or even an angry, displaced human saying fuck off to art. But I still think it was just a drunk person.

    Although, I have been inclined to stab some public art in Ann Arbor… It’s really bad. Those bike racks that say ‘art’ or are shaped like… bikes. The stupid giant white fish (which look like gold fish v any local species) jumping on dry land next to our soon-to-be 1.4-Dioxane-poisoned water supply… the fountain at city hall that doesn’t ever work and looks totally parched. –All solid candidates. Someone added an ‘f’ to the art racks. That’s a start I guess.

    The street art being erased constantly is better than the paid for public art. Some of it is really good lately. My favorite graffiti going back to the early 90’s: ‘Poverty is violence’ changed to ‘puberty is violence’. Also in the Fleetwood bathroom: “I’m not going to hitch my wagon to your hearse.”
    …which reminds me, I need to go clean my bathroom now.

  13. anonymous
    Posted August 10, 2015 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Someone was probably trying to cut the image off to sell at DIYpsi.

  14. Bob
    Posted August 10, 2015 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    Peter Larson hates hitchhiking and robots

  15. idea man
    Posted August 10, 2015 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

    The robots won’t be coming for us anytime soon.


  16. Koosh
    Posted August 10, 2015 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Maybe it was the same “radical” assholes that tagged up the park.

  17. Jay Steichmann
    Posted August 10, 2015 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    The bear? THE BEAR.??? Take a look at the oarsman. He’s just screaming “Stab me in the eye, why’n’cha?”

  18. Posted August 12, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I like both hitchhiking and robots, but that HitchBot was some ugly shit.

    Somebody should have smashed that thing for bad design alone.

  19. Posted October 10, 2015 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    I was just in Riverside Park and this piece has been un-stabbed.

  20. Posted October 10, 2015 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    As good as new.


  21. Anonymous
    Posted October 10, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    It was fixed in time for Ypsilanti’s Fall River Day tomorrow:

    Come enjoy the fall colors along our Huron River in Ypsilanti! River Day consists of exhibits and programs from 11am until 3pm in Ypsilanti’s Riverside Park (north end, entrance on Cross Street just east of Huron Street) along with canoe trips on the Huron River.

    Programs and exhibits at Ypsi River Day include…
    · Noon – “History On The Huron” talk by James Mann
    · 1pm – “Birds Of Prey” by the Leslie Science Center
    · 2pm – Fly-Fishing Demo by Shultz Outfitters
    · 11am to 3pm – Exhibits by the Huron River Watershed Council, Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission and more.
    · Art from the Detroit Institute of Art as part of the DIA “Inside-Out” series

    Canoe trips will also be featured on the Huron River (first-come, first-served). For the Ypsi River Day canoe trips, the City of Ann Arbor Canoe Livery will transport participants by shuttle to the Dixboro Bridge area of the Huron River where they will put in and canoe back to Riverside Park (approximately 5 miles). Trips will depart from Riverside Park at 11am, noon, 1pm and 2pm. Volunteers will assist with portages around the Superior and Peninsular dams. There will be a rental fee (cash, check or credit card accepted) associated with the canoe trips.
    For more information about Ypsilanti Fall River Day, including more detailed information (and pre-registration) for canoe trips, please visit http://www.ypsiparks.org.

  22. Demetrius
    Posted October 11, 2015 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the most beautiful fall day ever for this year’s River Day, and James Mann’s talk on the “History of the Huron” was fascinating. (As James always is.)

    For the record, not only was the artwork in Riverside Park completely repaired, but there is now another, different DIA work alongside the river-side trail in Frog Island, as well.

    Thanks to everybody who helped to put this event on, and to everyone who attended.

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