Demand Justice for Takeshi Miyakawa!
via Dezeen magazine:
May 22nd, NYC – Japanese designer Takeshi Miyakawa has been accused of planting false bombs and arrested while installing his work in a New York street during the International Contemporary Furniture Fair. The 50 year-old Brooklyn-based designer was arrested on Saturday after a passerby reported one of his illuminated I Love NY carrier-bags, hanging from trees and lamp-posts around the city, and the NYPD bomb squad were called in to investigate.
The NYPD arrested Miyakawa while a bomb squad verified that the sculptures were non-threatening. The designer and four of his colleagues co-operated with the police, repeatedly explaining that the hanging bags were an art-installation, and not explosives. At an arraignment on Sunday, May 20, 2012 the prosecution recommended that the judge fix bail, while his lawyer, Deborah J Blum, characterized Miyakawa’s arrest as a gross misunderstanding as evidenced by his many accomplishments in the field of design.
The Honorable Martin Murphy decided to hold Miyakawa for a mental evaluation, extending his detainment for an additional 30 days. The 50-year-old designer relocated Tokyo to New York City 23 years ago, working for the renowned New York architect Rafael Vinoly. Miyakawa established his solo design practice, Takeshi Miyakawa Design, in 2001.
You can help by signing this petition:
On may 19th, 2012, artist and designer Takeshi Miyakawa was arrested in brooklyn while installing ‘I ♥ NY’ lamps in a local park, part of a project designed to celebrate NY design week and the Tokyo-born artist’s love for new york city, where he has lived for the past 23 years. Instead, Miyakawa was charged with the class D felony of reckless endangerment, placing of false bombs, and criminal nuisance. He is currently being detained for thirty days to await mental evaluation. Public safety need be protected, but so must our human rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Miyakawa’s ‘I ♥ NY’ lamps encourage us to rethink our everyday objects, think sustainably, celebrate the place we live and love.
This is what we call art. Instead, the NY justice system calls this terrorism and endangerment, despite Miyakawa’s clean record and international renown as a designer. Sign to help free Takeshi Miyakawa!
UPDATES via The New York Observer
May 23rd, NYC: Moments ago, Brooklyn Judge William E. Garnett released Brooklyn designer Takeshi Miyakawa. He had been in jail since Saturday night after being arrested for placing light sculptures inside shopping bags and hanging them from trees and lamp posts over the weekend. The installations triggered a bomb scare, which led to Mr. Miyakawa’s incarceration at 2 a.m. Saturday morning.
Instead of releasing the designer on bail set at $250,000 bail Sunday morning, arraigning Judge Martin Murphy remanded him into custody for a mental evaluation that could have lasted as long as 30 days. Mr. Miyikawa’s attorney filed a writ of release Monday morning, which Judge Garnett just granted, allowing him to go free without bail.
Mr. Miyikawa will still face charges on 10 felony and misdemeanor counts relating to the incident, but now he is free to await his trial. The Observer has been tweeting the hearing, which you can find here.
“I was in shock,” Mr. Miyakawa said of his arrest, “but I was more in shock that people in Williamsburg were locked down for two hours, and I really want to apologize to them.” One reporter asked what Mr. Miyakawa would be doing next, and while he seemed to mean the designer’s next steps in his legal defense, Mr. Miyakawa had more immediate things on his mind. “I just want to take a long bath,” he said, “and have a beer.” […]
Mr. Miyakawa said that the most gratifying part of his ordeal was the overwhelming response it received online, both as a work of art and design and also as a piece of civic pride. It was true even here on Jay Street. While reporters were milling around for an hour and a half outside, awaiting the designer’s release, numerous passersby asked who they were waiting for, and when told, a number of them had indeed heard of the case. “Good for him,” one gentleman said.[…]
He still has to undergo a psychiatric evaluation, a prospect that seemed to puzzle him. “I was totally surprised,” Mr. Miyakawa said of the initial denial of bail at his Sunday morning arraigment. “Do I look like an insane person? I’m quite execentric, but not insane. But then again, you never know what a judge will think.