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Artist Held for 'I Love NY' Work Released

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Takeshi Miyakawa Takeshi Miyakawa (Brigid Bergin/WNYC)

An artist arrested on Saturday for setting up an illuminated "I Love New York"-themed public art display in Brooklyn that was mistaken for an explosive device has been released on his own recognizance.

Takeshi Miyakawa, a visual artist and furniture designer, says he still loves New York, but he won't be attempting another artistic project like this again any time soon.

As he finally exited the courthouse about two hours after the hearing ended, he was greeted by a group of friends. He said the arrest was a shock but that he was even more alarmed that the residents of a block in Williamsburg were evacuated on Saturday because of the investigation.

"I'm really sorry about this," he said.

He added, his next steps include "a long bath and [having] a beer."

He was released at a hearing held on Wednesday. Kings County Supreme Court Judge William Garnett said he must still submit to a 730 mental exam. Miyakawa found that surprising.

"I mean, do I look like an insane person?" Takeshi asked. "I'm quite eccentric and I'm not dressed too nice, I was a bit surprised. Then again, never know what the judge was thinking."

Miyakawa has been held since 2 a.m. on Saturday when he was arrested while placing a plastic "I Love New York" bag that contained a battery onto a public lamp post. On Friday, a caller reported a suspicious package to police, which was a similar plastic bag containing a battery suspended from a metal rod attached to a tree. The bag was connected by a wire to a plastic box that contained more wires.

The area was evacuated for two hours until a bomb squad determined that the device was not dangerous.

The artist's friend, Louis Lim, said Monday that the art installation was nothing more than a translucent plastic bag with a battery-powered flashlight inside it.

Miyakawa said he would never attempt another outdoor art project of this nature without a permit

The 50-year-old Tokyo native was charged with two counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, two counts of placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in the first degree, two counts of placing a false bomb or hazardous substance in the second degree, two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment and two counts of second-degree criminal nuisance.

Miyakawa has worked for the New York-based architect Rafael Vinoly for the last 20 years and has an independent design practice.

With The Associated Press

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