MOCA removes artwork from King Neptune statue after breach of contract with artist

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – The Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) is removing crochet work it commissioned for the King Neptune sculpture at the Oceanfront due to a breach of contract.

MOCA Spokesperson Dot Greene says the artist, Olek, created a different concept than the museum contracted her to produce.

Greene says the artwork was intended to bring awareness to the impacts littering and pollution has on our oceans.

“As a contemporary art advocate, MOCA contracted this public art installation because we support the responsibility we all have to protect our natural resources,” said Debi Gray, Executive Director of MOCA.

The contract stated that environmentally friendly materials would be used to preserve the integrity of the King Neptune statue.

Olek pitched the idea of adding a gas mask to the statue, but MOCA staff wanted to go another route and provided creative alternatives. The artist and the museum came up with a compromise.

On Wednesday morning, the statue had the gas mask on it. It was immediately removed.

“The addition of the gas mask was a direct breach of the agreement,” Gray said. “Our ultimate message here was a positive one — to inspire a conversation about ocean conservation. We are disappointed that Olek was unable to compromise on this and was unwilling to execute the remainder of the project without the mask.”

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