Danh Vo artwork stolen in New York

Danish-Vietnamese artist's huge copper chain links are taken from City Hall Park
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Danh Vo, We The People (detail), (2011-2014). Courtesy of Galerie Chantal Crousel. Photo: Nils Klinger. The stolen chain links are in the foreground of this image.
Danh Vo, We The People (detail), (2011-2014). Courtesy of Galerie Chantal Crousel. Photo: Nils Klinger. The stolen chain links are in the foreground of this image.

Where do you hide, or indeed sell an 18kg copper chain? That’s the question facing an opportunistic Manhattan art thief this morning, following the theft of part of Vietnamese artist Danh Vo’s We The People (detail) from City Hall Park.

We first wrote about this work in 2012, when Vo’s on-going sculpture project won the Hugo Boss prize. The piece is as simple as it is effective: We The People (detail) is a full-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty. However, rather than assembling the 250 or so copper parts, Vo chooses instead to display the pieces as they are. Disembodied, and scattered around the globe, the work, at least to our eye, gives rise to thoughts about contemporary freedom, the world’s multitudes, and the leviathan-like state that often guarantees our liberty.

 

Danh Vo’s We The People (detail) (2011 -2014) at City Hall Park, New York, courtesy of Public Art Fund
Danh Vo’s We The People (detail) (2011 -2014) at City Hall Park, New York, courtesy of Public Art Fund

However liberty tipped over into licence last week, when replica chain links, which lie at the feet of the original sculpture, were stolen. The crime took place as New York’s Public Art Fund were installing Vo’s work in Lower Manhattan’s City Hall Park. 

This theft hasn’t stopped the show; sections of We The People (detail) can be viewed in both City Hall Park, and Brooklyn Bridge Park, just across the East River, until 5 December.

However a representative from the Public Art Fund did tell the New York Post that, “We can confirm that a small part of the artwork disappeared from the park during installation, and a police investigation is underway”. From a civic perspective, we certainly hope the thief is apprehended.  

Danh Vo’s We The People (detail) (2011 -2014) at City Hall Park, New York, courtesy of Public Art Fund
Danh Vo’s We The People (detail) (2011 -2014) at City Hall Park, New York, courtesy of Public Art Fund

For a richer understanding of how We The People (detail) fits into today’s art scene, please consider buying a copy of our new title, Sculpture Today and our all-encompassing master work Defining Contemporary Art.


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