Mall Art by Michael Townsend

Filed under: Art Pranks, Pranksters

Submitted by Charlie Todd:
Man Builds Secret Apartment At Mall, Gets Away With It
For Four Years
October 2, 2007


An artist in Providence, Rhode Island was apprehended the other day by mall security as he left the secret apartment he’d built almost four years ago, in an unused utility space in the mall’s parking garage. The apartment had no running water (they used mall bathrooms), but it did include “a sectional sofa and love seat, coffee and breakfast tables, chairs, lamps, rugs, paintings, a hutch filled with china, a waffle iron, TV and Sony Playstation 2,” according to the Boston Globe.

con_secretmallapartment2-200.jpgThe man built the apartment with the help of seven other artists, and various people have lived in it over the past few years for up to three weeks at a time. The artist’s website about the project offers both an explanation of the “installation,” and a couple of long-winded apologies that sound suspiciously court-ordered””or to help him avoid getting the crap beat out of him the next time he’s pulled over for speeding, and includes this “thank you”:

“Thank you mall. I have grown exponentially from having this opportunity and it has been a major and most valuable part of my life and imagination. In the future I hope to share some of my experiences and observations with a wider audience and can only say that living in the mall is great. I am saddened that I am not allowed to ever return to the mall again, but I understand. The mall made me think very carefully about what we buy.”

[Editor’s Note: It’s interesting how frequently publications talk about controversial art projects but decline to mention the artist’s name in the article. To see more about this project and some of Michael Townsend’s other work, check out the links below.]

Related links:

  • The Apartment at the Mall [Artist’s website and apology]
  • “Artist gets probation for building secret mall apartment”, Boston Globe via BoingBoing
  • 1 Room, No View, The Providence Journal
  • Magic at the Mall, The
  • Another Secret Art Installation, by Michael Townsend