Green Lightning, 1984. Steel, LEXAN, tin, transformers, neon, electricity, wire, animators and concrete. Billie Lawless.

    Green Lightning was originally conceived as a project at Artpark, Lewiston, New York for the 1983 season (maquette submitted).
    It was subsequently erected in Buffalo, New York in 1984 (Video Clip of Dedication) and  heavily damaged a week after its unveiling by the City of Buffalo and City of Buffalo Arts Commission (Director, David More.) Its total destruction was prevented when Lawless obtained a court order halting the destruction which was begun by the City under the cloak of darkness well after the Courts had closed.
    Lawless was one of eight artists accepted to exhibit at Sculpture Chicago '85 in the Spring of 1985. The jurors, Howard Fox of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Mary Jane Jacobs of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL and John Chandler, Director of Supervision, Art Consultancy and Management, Boston, MA, selected Lawless' Green Lightning (2 minute video clip) which was subsequently installed at Harrison and Wells Streets in the South Loop. It stood for five years with no controversy (5 minute video clip for those with patience).
    In 1992 a jury in the New York State Supreme Court ruled that the Mayor of the City of Buffalo and the City of Buffalo Urban Renewal Agency had violated Mr. Lawless' civil rights with its unauthorized actions in 1984.
    In the Spring of 1993 Green Lightning was accepted into an exhibition to be held at the Manhattan Psychiatric Center in New York, New York. The exhibition was sponsored by the Association of Independent Artists and curated by John Rosis and Glenn Reed (See prospectus for this exhibiton).
    When the Director of the Center (Michael Ford) voiced his objections to the sculpture both curators (artists living in New York City) attempted to pressure Lawless into submitting another piece.
Lawless refused and the American Civil Liberties Union initiated litigation.
    Justice Ira Gammerman of the New York State Supreme Court ruled that the Manhattan Psychiatric Center did have to exhibit the piece but that it was not required to give Lawless the site which he had requested. The Center offered a piece of land which was not large enough to hold the sculpture which effectively precluded Lawless from exhibiting the piece.
    No artists from the exhibition voiced any support for Lawless.
 

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