Provincetown Art News and Information

Jay Critchley art - Martucket Eyeland

Published: Wed March 29, 2006
By: Straight Dope in Art > Paintings
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Local artist Jay Critchley is known for his over-the-top social satire. But this time, the Army Corps of Engineers is hoping his tongue isn’t planted in his cheek.

This month, Critchley submitted a proposal to the Corps of Engineers for ‘’Martucket Eyeland,’’ a ‘’Las Vegas-style, family-oriented vacation land’’ to be built in the ocean on a corner of Cape Wind Associates’ planned Nantucket Sound wind farm.

The man-made island would offer the sights of Cape Cod - including the Pilgrim Monument - with terrific views of the turbines.

Critchley claims his proposal is sincere. But if the Outer Cape artist is using the Army Corps of Engineers as a stage for his comedy, he could face stiff penalties, including fines up to $10,000 or five years in prison.

For its part, the Corps of Engineers is all business. The agency plans to give Martucket Eyeland proper scrutiny, as is required by law.

Corps officials are reviewing which federal agencies would have to be involved in a full analysis of the project. Considering a power plant in Critchley’s design, Army Corps of Engineers spokesman Larry Rosenberg said the Department of Energy could participate in the project’s review.

Rosenberg declined to speculate on the consequences for Critchley if his proposal is a hoax.

‘’It’s not up to the Corps of Engineers to determine the intent of the applicant,’’ Rosenberg said in a phone interview.

Critchley has earned a reputation with humorous stunts. A recent project included recording music and noise from the depths of an Interstate 93 tunnel before it was opened to Boston traffic.

Click HERE to see the full size artist’s image

The Martucket Eyeland resort and theme park proposed by Provincetown artist Jay Critchley includes an energy park with rides, a nuclear power plant and family-friendly gambling. The man-made resort would be built in Nantucket Sound near Cape Wind’s proposed wind farm.

He runs an art and theater project from an abandoned cesspool in his yard. The ‘’Theater in the Ground at Septic Space’’ was the first attraction of another Critchley-envisioned theme park - Provincetown Inc., a playground for the wealthy.

But if Martucket Eyeland - dubbed a ‘’satirical theme park’’ by the Boston Society of Architects - is merely an early April Fool’s prank, the Outer Cape artist isn’t letting on.

‘’It isn’t all satire. It’s real and it’s serious,’’ he said. ‘’I want to take advantage of the public land that is up for grabs.’’

Critchley pointed to his 1990s fight with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office to market ‘’Old Glory Condoms’’ - Critchley’s commentary that fighting AIDS should be considered an American’s duty - as evidence that his art can be serious business.

After he won an appeal that the trademark was not an ‘’immoral’’ and ‘’scandalous’’ use of the U.S. flag, Critchley went on to sell the patriotic prophylactics worldwide.

Martucket Eyeland would be a congestion-free version of Ol’ Cape Cod, with its centerpiece the ‘’Too Cheap to Meter Energy Park’’ and its nuclear power plant, ‘’Meltdown Mall.’’

The design was lauded by the Boston Society of Architects’ recent ‘’Windscape Ideas’’ competition, which asked participants to rethink the wind farm.

‘’There’s nothing wrong with having fun and business at the same time. Certainly Martucket Island has a humorous side - it’s meant to be a theme park,’’ Critchley said.

Within a week, the Corps will send a letter to Critchley asking him for further information about the project, Rosenberg said.

The Army Corps of Engineers hopes the applicant is indeed serious, Rosenberg said, since Critchley signed a form saying he did not provide any ‘’false, fictitious or fraudulent’’ information.

If Critchley did provide bogus information, the Army Corps of Engineers may add another federal agency to review the project: the Department of Justice.

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On Wed March 29, 2006, Straight Dope wrote:

If anyone (or Jay) has an official website for Jay Critchley, please post it here.

On Wed March 29, 2006, Jill wrote:

What a hoot! Where can I see more of his art?

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