Most of these auctions disappeared as soon as auction site officials caught wind of them, due to various rules banning the sale of weapons, government property, and property which the seller does not rightfully own. While these rules are debatable in the case of a used tear gas canister that has been left on the street like litter, eBay thought them sufficient reason to abruptly cancel several auctions of items, including the "WTO Seattle Protest/Riot Fun Pack!": a combo platter featuring relics of each of the police and National Guard's favorite crowd dispersal technologies.
But in a wonderfully ironic display of the power of commerce to elude controls imposed by governments or other rule-making bodies, the Riot Fun Pack reappeared almost immediately on Amazon's auction site, where at press time the high bidder was in for $75.
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But even if you can't buy used tear gas canisters on eBay, you can still pick up bullets at a gallery. Art dealer Mary Boone was let off the hook last week after being picked up by Manhattan cops for offering handgun bullets to visitors at an art show this summer. Displayed in a candy bowl as part of sculptor Tom Sachs' exhibition of Hermès and Prada-labeled double-barreled shotguns, the bullets and two of the guns were seized by police during the run of Sachs' show. Boone faced up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine if convicted; luckily nobody in the court took the dumb charges against her seriously.
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The Seattle Art Museum's proposed sculpture park was named by its largest benefactor last week, and luckily for us the name isn't Go2Net.com Park or Immunex Gardens. Jon and Mary Shirley, who have now given $10 million to the project, named the park for the distant view available from it: The Olympic Sculpture Park. I suppose "Seattle," "Puget Sound," and "Elliott Bay" are already part of the names of too many places and institutions, and I'm glad the Shirleys recognized that "Shirley Sculpture Park" doesn't have much of a ring; but there's something odd about naming something for a geographic feature that's nowhere near it. It's kinda like putting a park on the east edge of Manhattan and then calling it Brooklyn Park. But in a city where Capitol Hill doesn't house our state legislature, Mount Baker isn't anywhere near that mountain, and Westlake Center is neither west of Lake Union nor on Westlake Avenue, Olympic Sculpture Park should fit right in.
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The public part of the design process for the new downtown library is getting under way. I got word of architect Rem Koolhaas' December 15 presentation of his preliminary work on the project too late to give you a heads up, but I can tell you about the opportunity to meet the architects of Koolhaas' firm, OMA, and sign up for work groups to consult on the library's design. That event is this Saturday, December 18, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm at the doomed current Central Library, 1000 Fourth Avenue. Call 386-4624 for more information.
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