Watch as Toledo Residents Are Terrorized by Artist’s 250-Pound Rolling Ball

A driver quickly shut his door, just in time.

Kurt Perschke's RedBall at the Toledo Museum of Art.
Photo Brittany Worgan.
Kurt Perschke's RedBall project in Toledo, Ohio. Photo by Jeremy419, via Instagram.

Kurt Perschke’s RedBall project in Toledo, Ohio.
Photo by Jeremy419, via Instagram.

A public art project went awry Wednesday evening, when a 15-foot-tall, 250-pound red ball created by artist Kurt Perschke ripped free of its supports and rolled down the streets of Toledo, Ohio.

“We had a freak storm move through the city very quickly when we were preparing to take the installation down for the day,” Perschke told artnet News by email. “It was in a downtown alley that suddenly became a wind tunnel. The wind pressure popped the work out of its location and blew it down the street into an empty intersection, where it amazingly then took a left turn.”

Toledo Instagrammer @Jeremy419 captured the ball’s brief escape on video from a neighboring rooftop. The video shows several people heroically running after the ball as it brushes past a stop sign and then a silver car—whose driver shuts his door as the ball bears down on the automobile.

Watch the video here.

The recovery team included the artist’s employees, museum staff, bystanders, and an area waiter, a museum spokesperson told the Toledo Blade. Though the ball sustained slight damage, no one was hurt, the artist said. A street sign may have gotten bent out of shape in the mishap.

The ball was stationed at Roulet Jewelers on Madison Avenue, having already spent time at various locations around the city, including at the Toledo Museum, which organized the project, and a farmer’s market.

Intrepid Ohioans can catch the ball (as it were) at Boyd’s Retro Candy Store on Phillips Avenue today, according to the museum’s website, then at Side Cut Metropark tomorrow and back at the museum on Sunday.

Kurt Perschke's RedBall at the Toledo Museum of Art.<br>Photo Brittany Worgan.

Kurt Perschke’s RedBall at the Toledo Museum of Art.
Photo Brittany Worgan.

The project is part of the museum’s exhibition “Play Time,” organized by Halona Norton-Westbrook, the museum’s associate curator of contemporary art, along with associate director Amy Gilman. The show is meant to pose questions like “Is play just for kids?”

Ironically, the animation on the exhibition’s web page opens with a horde of red balls knocking down the museum’s façade and rolling down the front stairs, presumably on their way to terrorize the city of over 300,000 inhabitants, also known as Frog Town.

“Through the RedBall Project I utilize my opportunity as an artist to be a catalyst for new encounters within the everyday,” Perschke says on his website. “Through the magnetic, playful, and charismatic nature of the RedBall the work is able to access the imagination embedded in all of us.”

The RedBall Project, which has already visited cities from Chicago and Paris to Sydney and Taipei, is on an international tour. Its stay in Ohio is scheduled to last through Sunday, August 23, after which it will spend a week in Marseilles in September and in Bordeaux in October.

“It’s a huge soft ball that doesn’t crush things,” Perschke said. “However, like a boat with lots of sail and no rudder, it can really move in high winds. I guess that day it decided to go for a little jog in the rain.”

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