Main Street Meltdown
In the run-up to the 2008 presidential elections, Provisions Learning Project organized the public art project BrushFire, an arts initiative showcasing contemporary artists whose public projects engage crucial social issues. Taking place in highly visible public settings around the United States, BrushFire aimed to enrich the environment for public discussion about important social and political issues. Artist duo Ligorano/Reese’s Main Street Meltdown was Brushfire’s final project. It was staged on the 79th anniversary of Black Tuesday, the stock market crash that caused the Great Depression in 1929. A large-scale ice sculpture of the word ‘economy’ was installed at downtown New York City’s Foley Square, using the New York Supreme Court as a backdrop. Close to the heart of Wall Street, the location fitted the timeliness of the financial crisis in the final week of the presidential campaign. The artists refer to Main Street Meltdown as a “temporary monument,” since the sculpture melted in a few hours. Main Street Meltdown became a magnet for the media. Print media, broadcast television, and internet services all came to visit the site and to report on the event. The site became an area that critically and playfully pointed to an important political and societal issue, and provided a backdrop for people to voice their sentiments, ideas, and critiques about the economic crisis and the political situation.