There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
When artist Mia Feuer proposed building a sunken replica gas station in the Anacostia River for the biennial 5×5 public art festival, she didn’t think twice about whether or not she could get it done. After all, she’d built a skating rink made of synthetic black ice for her solo show last winter at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, using funds she personally raised. How hard could building “Antediluvian” really be? Pretty damned difficult, it turns out. Feuer faced immediate pushback from a coalition of conservationists and sporting enthusiasts who call the river their own. The Anacostia River has a reputation as a polluted river in the eyes of the general public, the coalition said; this project would only confirm the worst impressions. Never mind that the point of Feuer’s piece was to expose the damage done to our natural resources through carbon emissions. In the city’s first-ever battle between environmentally sensitive installation art and river-NIMBYs, the NIMBYs had it. Instead, for her 5×5 contribution, Feuer led a number of twilight kayak tours of the Kingman Island site where she had hoped to install the piece, giving lectures on the importance of nature and the agency of art. Things could’ve been worse, but also could’ve been better.