Community Bd. 2 not glowing about proposed P.S.1 light plan

By Adam Pincus

“It is just another slap at the community,” board chairman Joseph Conley said in a telephone interview Monday. “The artist community could have come up with a much more creative process to celebrate that wall.”The lighting proposal, drafted by a consultant but similar to plans developed when the 15-foot-tall wall was built, was the only one offered to the board at the meeting last Thursday at the Sunnyside Community Center, at 43-31 39th St. The proposal was part of an estimated $1.5 million plan the museum presented that also includes creating a covered kiosk at the entrance to the museum.A representative from the 35-year-old modern art exhibition space as well as the plans' architect described the proposed changes to the 9-year-old wall extending for 150 feet along Jackson Avenue near the building located at 22-25 Jackson Ave.The proposal was intended to improve the wall that has drawn the ire of local residents since it was constructed in 1997 because of its “negative pedestrian experience,” Conley said.P.S.1 spokesman Brett Littman said the museum, which is affiliated with the Museum of Modern Art and attracts some 130,000 visitors annually, was aware of some local opposition to the bare concrete wall.”We want to address the long-term concerns that the wall is an inactive space,” he said.The lighting plan, which was estimated to cost at least $186,000, does not need the approval of Community Board 2, but does need to be reviewed by the city Art Commission, Littman said.But Littman said he wanted CB 2 to approve of the project.”We seem to be far away from coming up with any compromise position,” he said. “But we will continue this discussion.”The light emitting diode, or LED, system, will be placed next to the wall on Jackson Avenue, and when illuminated will cast onto the wall any color of light from each the diodes, Littman said. The height of the illumination as well as the color can be programmed, allowing for a virtually infinite combination of colors and lights to bath the wall, he said.Littman said P.S.1 had a history of promoting art based on light.He said he expected the Art Commission to review the proposal Feb. 12, but if approved he did not anticipate construction to begin before fall of 2008.Reach reporter Adam Pincus by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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