Current artists: Amon Azizov, Wei Chen, Qiao Fu, Gao Min, Guo Kun Sheug, Artashes Karslian, Ji Yin Jin, Li Qun, Lin Ruo, Dean Lu, Ren Jien-Guo, Jorge Rivera, Sharif Sadiq, Peter Walsh, Xiang Yue Chuan, Dario Zapata, Zhuang Xuemin

Organized by Peter Walsh, Ongoing.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Assistant Commish Linn Grilled on the Stand In Artists' Hearing

New York City Parks Department Assistant Commissioner Jack Linn gave unexpected testimony today in Justice Milton A. Tingling, Jr.’s courtroom while under a vigorous cross-examination by artist plaintiffs’ attorney Jon Schuyler Brooks. That testimony is potentially favorable for the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the revised park rules limiting artists’ ability to display and sell art in four New York City Parks.

Linn first testified on a large series of photos that he contended showed evidence of artists causing congestion in the parks and reducing the aesthetic experience of being in park space. He noted that Central Park is considered an artwork in its own right and that there are many permanent and temporary artworks and sculptures in the parks. He appeared to claim that artists working in the parks reduced the ability of the public to enjoy these large-scale artworks sited in the parks.

During voir dire for entering the photos as evidence and during cross-examination, Linn admitted that he had directed park staff to shoot particular photos but had only brought a small portion of those photos to court. Judge Tingling asked the city to give the artists’ attorneys access to the other photos. Linn suggested that what he had done was no different than what artists had done with testimony and videos during Monday’s hearing, but Brooks countered that Linn was attempting to claim his photos represented a general situation in the parks while the artists were presenting particular facts of specific moments. At one point Linn suggested that video shown in court on Monday (such as the video taken on Wien Walk by artist Peter Walsh) was staged. That comment was stuck from the record.

Linn was also grilled on the details of the revised park rules after he testified that he had a significant hand in drafting the rules. At one point he was given a copy of the rules while he searched in vain for an explanation of the process park officers should use in several situations that might arise implementing the first come first serve system.

Also of note, when pushed during questioning, Linn admitted that he did not know of any documented complaints against artist vendors by members of the public. This is in direct contradiction to the city’s published revised rules, which state that such complaints were the impetus for drafting the new rules.
The hearing continues on Monday, September 20th at 2pm at Judge Tingling’s courtroom at 60 Centre Street, Room 321.

(Image: Justice Milton A. Tingling, Jr. in court today. Drawing by Peter Walsh)

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