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Stickers appraise mundane objects in downtown Wis.

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[August 16, 2008]  APPLETON, Wis. (AP) -- No one seems to know where the mysterious stickers came from - colorful dots that appeared in this eastern Wisconsin town, apparently placing a value on the most mundane of public objects. An orange dot on a decorative light post is labeled "Art Object, $10,000."

RestaurantNearby another sticker declares a green fire hydrant an art object worth $10.

The dots are all around downtown Appleton - on cigarette-butt containers, trash cans and parking meters. They all have "Art Object" typed on them, with prices ranging from one cent to $10,000.

Friday marks the city's monthly "Art on the Town," a celebration of art in the community. But coordinators of the program say the stickers aren't theirs.

"It was definitely not us," said Mary Ann Wepfer, the marketing director of Appleton Downtown Inc. "But when you find out who did it, let us know. We're always looking for ideas."

Linda Muldoon, a local artist and gallery owner, marveled at how the stickers turn ordinary objects into something special.

"It's nice that someone, by placing a sticker on an object, can make it a piece of art," she said.

A dispatcher with the Appleton Police Department said Friday morning she wasn't aware of any complaints about the stickers.

So far no one has claimed responsibility for the dots, but Muldoon speculated that nearby Lawrence University was behind the scheme.

Rob Neilson, a Lawrence assistant professor of art, wouldn't say whether his department had anything to do with the stickers. But he did say the dots were serving a fundamental role in art - to instigate thoughtful discussion of profound and provocative ideas.

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"This particular piece of guerrilla art seems to have accomplished this lofty goal brilliantly," Neilson said.

He said he couldn't say who the 'artists' might be "but I will tell you I think this is a smart and fun piece of public art."

Neilson said the stickers bring to mind the late French artist Marcel Duchamp, who believed an artist could elevate any object to the status of art simply by designating it as such.

Duchamp was known to declare as art ordinary objects such as a urinal, wine rack and bicycle wheel mounted on a wooden stool.


A similar sticker scheme happened about this time last year, when dots with the words "Found Art" appeared on objects downtown.


Information from: The Post-Crescent, http://www.postcrescent.com

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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