Railyard Art Project Vandalized

Adam Horowitz’s “Plastolithic” now has a chunk missing

It remains to be seen whether vandals who attacked a new public art project did so as an act of criticism or just out of destructiveness. Either way, they disfigured a portion of artist Adam Horowitz’s “Plastolithic” sometime early Wednesday morning.

Horowitz constructed the four 1,000-pound blocks of compressed, recycled materials made to raise awareness about excessive waste. Vandals cut and removed one block from the structure, leaving a small amount of leftover trash behind, “but nothing near 1,000 pounds of it,” Horowitz said Wednesday morning at the scene of the crime, where a serrated blade, a pocket knife and crowbar were located.

Large tire tracks and the missing block’s size suggest the unidentified party drove a truck, Park Ranger Daniel Alt hypothesized as he detailed the event to a coworker over the phone. As the unknown vehicle left the area, it struck a valve box near the art, causing notable damage, he added.

Horowitz said he mused about whether the vandalism was targeted. “I was wondering that driving over. Was this personal? Was this art critique? They would’ve just done straight vandalism if this was aggression, but it’s theft!”

Three cameras survey the area from a nearby building. Josh Bohlman, a project administrator for the Public Works Department’s Facilities Division, tells SFR he will review the footage captured this afternoon to see if anything comes up.

Railyard Park Conservancy Executive Director Izzy Barr also showed up to the scene of the crime. She tells SFR she received a call from the city Parks Department in the morning and headed over in the middle of hosting a field trip.

“I mean, I’m surprised obviously, but there’s a lot of things that happen in this park, so there’s a part of me that’s not surprised anymore by anything,” Barr says before pointing out trash on the ground, including glass shards.

Horowitz is no stranger to vandalism of his art. One of his former endeavors “Stonefridge: a Fridgehenge” faced multiple “accidental” destructions at the old Paseo de Vista landfill where it remained until 2007 and garnered national attention along the way.

Though Alt called in the incident upon discovery in the morning, Santa Fe Police Department officers had yet to arrive more than two hours later, which Horowitz says shows “obviously it’s not important to them.”

SFPD did not return a request for comment by press time.

Horowitz tells SFR he intends to file a police report on the damages—damages he says should be valued as more than the materials that comprise the installation.

“You can’t value a painting by the price of the paint that goes on it. You can’t value it by the price of the blank canvas,” he explains. “I spent a lot of time on this, and essentially 25 percent of it is missing.”

Though Horowitz says he has an extra block he can use to replace it, Barr says they “haven’t really talked about it yet,” and she’s unsure of the next steps because “it’s so fresh.” The project is slated to remain in the park for roughly one more month.

“I need to talk to the committee and decide what we want to do. The installation is kind of involved,” Barr says, noting she hopes a decision will be made in the next week. “Adam’s already told me what his idea would be to do that, so it might be simpler. It’s just finding the time.”

Despite yet another setback in Horowitz’s awareness endeavor, he says he should “take it as a compliment,” noting he believes destruction can sometimes add to the project.

“I think artists are always wondering if their work has value, and if they steal it, it has value. I think that’s kind of a validation in a way,” Horowitz says. “Trash is what we throw away. We think it has no value, but if someone goes through the trouble of stealing 1,000 pounds of it, well, they think it has value too.”

Update: In a subsequent conversation with SFR later in the day, Bohlman said after reviewing the surveillance footage, he did find video of what appeared to be “an early 2000s Toyota truck” approaching the installation around 5:30 am Wednesday morning. Then, he said, as the truck left the scene, it “got stuck on a little concrete post and then it took off.”

However, Bohlman said he was unable to see a license plate because the recording was “too blurry” and could not identify the driver because tree branches near the camera partially blocked the view.

In a later interview with Horowitz, he said after waiting four hours for the police to arrive, he filed a police report and said he wanted to press charges. The responding officer took the items found on the scene into evidence, he added.

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