brooklyn artist takeshi miyakawa arrested for 'planting false bombs'
brooklyn artist takeshi miyakawa arrested for 'planting false bombs' brooklyn artist takeshi miyakawa arrested for 'planting false bombs'
may 21, 2012
brooklyn artist takeshi miyakawa arrested for 'planting false bombs'

the ‘I (heart) new york’ upcycled lighting installation has been called a ‘false bomb’ by a brooklyn judge, leading to takeshi miyakawa’s arrest and continued detainment

on may 19th, 2012, brooklyn-based designer takeshi miyakawa was arrested while installing an ‘I (heart) new york’ lighting project
in the city, for allegedly ‘planting false bombs’ in manhattan and williamsburg, brooklyn.

in celebration of NY design week, ‘I (heart) new york’ was intended to show miyakawa’s love for the city, where he has lived for 23 years
working as a furniture designer, and model-maker for renowned architect rafael vinoly. the project upcycles the ubiquitous ‘I ♥ NY’ plastic bags
into illuminated lamps hanging from trees and lamposts. miyakawa himself is acclaimed internationally for his artistic experimentation
of the highest level, using design as a means of activism with projects like the ‘red eclipse‘ table to raise funds for humanitarian relief work
after the japan earthquake.

instead, a passerby called the police on friday night to report a package attached to a tree in brooklyn, with the question of how
it should be removed. the area was evacuated for two hours as the NYPD bomb squad investigated, before deeming the object harmless.

nonetheless, miyakawa was arrested at 2am saturday morning while hanging another bag on a light post near mccarren park. on sunday,
judge martin murphy accused miyakawa of reckless endangerment, the placing of false bombs, and criminal nuisance. he also ordered
that miyakawa be detained for 30 days, as the artist awaits mental evaluation.

after his attorney filed a writ of habeus corpus, the court held a second hearing for takeshi miyakawa on may 23rd,
where a new judge released him without bail. the artist’s court date against his initial charges, where the question of miyakawa’s
mental health was considered, was held on june 21st, 2012.

in late july 2012, takeshi miyakawa’s ordeal finally came to an end with his final court date, where the judge accepted ACD
(‘adjournment in contemplation of a dismissal’) and no standing charges, with the ordering only of 10 days community service
as recommended by the prosecution. ‘I feel relieved that this issue has been resolved,’ miyakawa told friends following
his release.

you can read full coverage about the incident on the new york times: ‘designer takeshi miyakawa returns from rikers island
(earlier reports viewable on NYT at ‘police arrest artist takeshi miyakawa thinking tribute was fake bomb‘).

from miyakawa’s project archive: photo of test installation last week

thank you to all readers who signed and shared the petition to free takeshi miyakawa!

petition to free takeshi miyakawa

on may 19th, 2012, artist and designer takeshi miyakawa was arrested
in brooklyn while installing ‘I ♥ NY’ lamps in a local park,
part of a project designed to celebrate NY design week and the
tokyo-born artist’s love for new york city, where he has lived for the
past 23 years.

instead, miyakawa was charged with the class D felony of reckless endangerment, placing of false bombs, and criminal nuisance.
he is currently being detained for thirty days to await mental evaluation.

public safety need be protected, but so must our constitutionally ordained rights.
art has the power to join people together, bring a smile to the face of a passerby. miyakawa’s ‘I ♥ NY’ lamps encourage us
to rethinkour everyday objects, think sustainably, celebrate the place we live and love.

this is what we call art.

instead, the NY justice system calls this terrorism and endangerment, despite miyakawa’s clean record and international renown.

please sign if you believe that there is still the place and need for art in the world.
sign to help free takeshi miyakawa. sign to help free art.

cutting the ‘I ♥ NY’ bags

assembling the boxes, necessary to prevent the plastic from overheating by the LED

assembling the LED light

in their brooklyn studio, takeshi miyakawa and his team construct the
‘I (heart) new york’ lamps; right: photo from the installation


at the same time as the events of the arrest, takeshi miyakawa’s work was on show at the international cultural exhibition
at ICFF (international contemporary furniture fair) at new york’s jacob javitz center.

read more about the mart and miyakawa’s work for it: new york designboom mart 2012.

takeshi miyakawa kneels with his lighting installation on show at ICFF, days before his arrest
image © designboom

miyakawa and his team
image © designboom

installing the piece for ICFF
image © designboom

the light on show for new york design week at the jacob javitz center
image © designboom

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NY design week 2012 (21 articles)