River Café Sues Artist Olafur Eliasson

Art imitates life, life hires lawyers: The River Café in Brooklyn, N.Y., is suing Danish artist Olafur Eliasson for alleged damage caused by his 2008 installation “The New York City Waterfalls.” The piece, commissioned by the New York Public Art Fund in 2008, was made up of four man-made waterfalls, ranging in height from 90 to 120 feet, in New York Harbor. River Café owner Michael “Buzzy” O’Keeffe says the restaurant sustained $3 million in salt-water damage from the waterfalls. “It ate up aluminum and steel. It short-circuited our electrics. We had fires on our roof,” O’Keeffe says. “The paint was ruined, the awnings were ruined, our outdoor lights are broken, and a lot of our trees just couldn’t take it. It’s left the place destroyed.” A spokeswoman for the New York Public Art Fund says the fund has been in ongoing discussions with O’Keeffe about the rehabilitation of the restaurant’s flora. But, she adds, “We didn’t know about the lawsuit.”