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Behind all great art is a combination of factors: inspiration, careful execution with just the right materials, and – perhaps most critically – a public recognition of its genius. This is why we cannot put "Fly" by Qu Jianxiong in that category.
At last word, the creation that took him two years to complete was in pieces and being removed from Binhai International Airport outside Tianjin, China, where it was to have been the centerpiece of the new passenger terminal. Had it remained in place, perhaps 40 million people a year would have filed past it by 2010, when the expansion project is scheduled to be complete.
"Fly," a metallic structure with wings, was just a few days from being unveiled. But first, there would be a tour of the soon-to-open terminal by local political leaders, among them the vice mayor of Tianjin. You can see where this is going, right? Yup, the vice mayor took a long look at Qu's masterpiece, drew himself up to his full importance, and announced – OK, probably not in these exact words – "Ewww, I don't like the color." And that, Qu conceded sadly, "was enough to seal 'Fly's' death sentence." The order was given to dismantle it, with the artist given no opportunity to start over.
To try to save face for all concerned, airport officials demanded that there be no news coverage of the incident. Obviously, their wishes were ignored.