Does New York’s Giant Slip and Slide Rip Off British Artist Luke Jerram?

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Slide the City.
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Slide the City.
Slide the City.
Luke Jerram, Park and Slide (2014), Bristol, UK. Photo: courtesy Luke Jerram.
Luke Jerram, Park and Slide (2014), Bristol, UK.
Photo: courtesy Luke Jerram.
Luke Jerram, Park and Slide (2014), Bristol, UK. Photo: courtesy Luke Jerram.
Luke Jerram, Park and Slide (2014), Bristol, UK.
Photo: courtesy Luke Jerram.
Luke Jerram, Park and Slide (2014), Bristol, UK. Photo: courtesy Luke Jerram.
Luke Jerram, Park and Slide (2014), Bristol, UK.
Photo: courtesy Luke Jerram.
Slide the City.
Slide the City.
Luke Jerram, Park and Slide (2014), Bristol, UK. Photo: courtesy Luke Jerram.
Luke Jerram, Park and Slide (2014), Bristol, UK.
Photo: courtesy Luke Jerram.
Slide the City.
Slide the City.

Though New York may still be buried under (non-apocalyptic amounts of) snow, summer is only a few months away. Among the warm-weather activities to look forward to is a 1,000-foot-long slip-and-slide that will hit the Big Apple in August—but does Slide the City rip off British artist Luke Jerram?

Last May, Jerram’s Park and Slide, one of the artist’s so-called “living installations,” brought a 300-foot-long slide to the Bristol Art Weekender festival. Over 96,000 people entered to take one of just 360 rides. “Ideas like this are about transforming our cities,” he told the Daily Mail. It is about reclaiming our city and using it as a blank canvas and to have some fun.” Belgian artist Carsten Höller also incorporates slides into his practice, albeit sans water (see Carsten Höller Unleashes 100-Foot Slide on Vitra Campus).

Jerram refused corporate sponsorship to fund his free event, which doubled as a fundraiser for the charity FRANK Water. Slide the City, meanwhile is charging $20 per ride or $55 for unlimited access, with an undisclosed portion of the proceeds donated to a local charity.

The artist offers FRANK Water donors instructions to get permission for and construct your own ride. Jerram’s website includes a link to last July’s Slide the City Salt Lake City debut in a list of other urban slides inspired by his work, many of which utilized his DIY pack, he says.

Slide the City has a busy 2015 lined up, with events in well over 100 cities, beginning with West Palm Beach on February 14. Regardless of where they got the idea, not everyone is a fan: water conservationist Paul Duffy has already started an anti-water slide petition in drought-stricken San Francisco (see Getty Museum Shuts Off Fountains Amid Severe California Drought).

Ryan Johnson, Slide the City’s spokesperson, assured SF Weekly that “since our slide is a closed system, the majority of the water that was used for the slide will be recycled.”


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