Can an artist be responsible for this? And can we even call the responsible person an artist? This is not a work of art. Granted, it's not real: In the regular world, a police hat is made of cloth and not bronze, and real keys open cells and are attached to rings that are not bolted to authorless pedestals. But above all, there is no art here because these objects are not asking art to occupy them; they ask, instead, that art go elsewhere and leave them as they are—a nameless bronze police cap and keys that happen to be on the ground floor of the police half of the Seattle Justice Center. They are just there. But this is a trick. The empty thereness that the cap and keys want to maintain is the same empty thereness that cops want to maintain in the face of the public. This is the police ideal: At the core of the institution, there isn't a political motive, or a value that was fabricated by (and is in the service of) a specific human interest or class, but instead, nothing but the truth of being there, being the law. To remove the art from the objects is to remove the politics from policing.

Support The Stranger

Sponsored