DALLAS (AP) — A large sculpture of an eyeball in downtown Dallas is in the process of being repaired after it was tagged with graffiti during a protest following George Floyd’s death.
The 30-foot-high sculpture that has caught the attention of passersby since it was installed in 2013 was tagged with graffiti on May 29. The message “NOW UC US,” along with Floyd’s initials and his words, “I can’t breathe,” were spray-painted on the sculpture.
Floyd died after a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee against the handcuffed Black man’s neck for several minutes while Floyd said he couldn’t breathe. His death sparked mass demonstrations around the world.
Sculptor Tony Tasset told The Dallas Morning News that a lot of the grafiti has been cleaned from the eyeball he created, but that there are some chips and cracks that will also be repaired. He said the repairs will cost “north of $100,000.”
“It feels terrible, of course, to have your work damaged. But I’m supportive of Black Lives Matter. I’m sympathetic not to the vandalism but certainly to the anger,” Tasset said.
Tasset, who lives in Sawyer, Michigan, plans to fly to Dallas for that last phase of repairs, which are expected in March.
The eyeball was originally created for a temporary exhibit in Chicago. It was placed in a garden near The Joule, a luxury hotel in Dallas, in 2013 after being purchased by the hotel’s owner, Tim Headington.
Jeny Bania, a spokeswoman for The Joule, said the eyeball has required “comprehensive cleaning and repair.” She added that moving forward, they’ll “be enhancing our electronic and personal oversight of the art.”