Translucent Boy Statue Goes Missing for One Night from Prospect Park Lake

The statue was returned mid-day Sunday after being found in the woods nearby.

An installation view of "Clear Child" by Nicholas Papadakis. (Courtesy of Nicholas Papadakis)

Art Slope, a nine-day festival staged in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, now has an unlikely task to add to its agenda: to locate the thieves of a stolen statue.

The work, titled Clear Child by artist Nicholas Papadakis, was already catching attention before the heist, as it is a three-foot, translucent sculpture of a boy that seems to eerily “float” atop the water in front of the Prospect Park Boathouse.

While the vandalism appears to be the result of a prank, the mischief-makers may not realize the fallout of their actions. According to DNAinfo, installing the piece took nearly a day of labor, and getting permission to put it inside the park was a lengthy process involving multiple city agencies. Furthermore, a spokesperson for the police said they are treating it as a “grand larceny investigation,” perhaps even going so far as to take fingerprints from the statue’s base.

In the account of a parks employee, who witnessed the theft, “a bunch of young white males from a wedding at the boathouse [on Saturday, Sept 17] were seen to be in the water repeatedly vandalizing the sculpture.” By morning, the sculpture was gone entirely. Men fitting the witness’s description returned the sculpture the next morning, claiming they had found it in the woods nearby.

Despite being returned in good condition to Papadakis, the artist refuses to stand down. “I will not let this rest because it’s really insulting and damaging to my income and my career,” Papadakis told DNAinfo. “This is business. It’s not there for whatever entertainment value a visitor wishes to take from it.”

In a twist of fate, the theft has actually generated media exposure for Papadakis, who is hoping to sell the piece at a price between $12,000 to $15,000. As for whether the piece will be re-installed, Park Slope Stoop reported that the artist merely said, “I’m hoping people can come together and respond to this—maybe even create a new piece of work in response.”

Art Slope will run through September 25 in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park area. 

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