Smiley

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Artist: Gerland Lande

Year: 1985

Date of Action: 1985

Region: North America

Location: Carmel, Indiana

Subject: Political/Economic/Social Opinion

Medium: Sculpture

Confronting Bodies: Carmel Department of Community Development

Description of Artwork: A dentist named Gerald Lande in Carmel, Indiana, constructed an eight-foot by four-foot water board representation of a tooth. Lande installed the tooth (called "Smiley") in front of his office building.

The Incident: Carmel's Director of the Department of Community Development inspected the tooth and informed Lande that, because the tooth could be constituted as a sign, it was too large to be on display in front of the office (violated zoning ordinance).

Results of Incident: Lande filed an appeal to the Board, making his argument that "Smiley" was art, not signage. The five-member board voted unanimously to uphold the deacon that "Smiley" was a sign under Carmel ordinance's definition; because the sculpture could be constituted as a "sign", it violated the city's zoning ordinance that placed a maximum size permissible for signs.

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