Japanese-born New York-based artist Takeshi Miyakawa was arrested early Saturday morning, in Williamsburg of all places, after an installation he hung from a tree in the Brooklyn neighborhood was mistaken for a bomb.
Miyakawa, better known for his elaborate furniture designs, had been placing illuminated plastic bags sporting the familiar I [Heart] NY logo around the city in honor of NY Design Week. "He wanted to promote a positive message," protégé Louis Lim told the New York Times.
One person who lives on Bedford Ave. near N. Sixth St. was unaware of Miyakawa's intent, and assumed the plastic bag was the product of littering, not love.
"I called 311 asking how to get that thing off my tree, if it was my responsibility or the city's" they told Gothamist in an email. "[T]he 311 woman put me through to 911 then the cops came. I left for work."
The bomb squad was called in to examine the suspicious light source, only to determine after two hours that the bag posed no real danger. The artist was spotted a short time later down the street setting up a similar contraction, and was taken into custody for planting "a false bomb or hazardous substance."
At his arraignment yesterday, Judge Martin Murphy refused to set bail, and ordered that Miyakawa be held for a month so a mental evaluation could be conducted. "I believe this was a gross misunderstanding," said attorney Deborah J. Blum, who is representing Miyakawa.
The 1,082 members-and-count of the Free Takeshi Miyakawa Facebook page agree.
[photos via Takeshi Miyakawa Design]