Last week, the dinosaur head that mysteriously appeared atop the Arc of History sculpture on Halloween only to be heisted just days later by teen bandits has escaped from the Durango Police Department’s evidence locker.
Apparently no longer criminal evidence, as of Tuesday, the dinosaur head stared out from Studio &’s Main Avenue window, where the studio is flogging it to the highest bidder.
Asked how the latest turn in the high-profile art scandal came about, Studio &’s Tim Kapustka said last week that an anonymous artist contacted the studio and asked it to sell the dinosaur head.
“They were hell-bent on being anonymous,” Kapustka said.
Kapustka repeatedly denied knowing the artist’s name.
According to a Durango Police Department report by property technician Patricia King, on Nov. 10 someone called “Benjamin Foisel” claimed to be the dinosaur head’s owner and creator.
After Foisel gave police a long, detailed description of the dinosaur head’s internal construction, police released the head to him.
There are no phone numbers listed for Foisel in the Directory Plus phone book or the La Plata County voter registration database, which says Foisel was born in 1987.
Sherri Dugdale said the city of Durango does not plan to press charges against Foisel for vandalizing public property.
“It’s a dud – a beheaded issue. It’s over,” she said. “Just because we know who made the dinosaur head doesn’t mean we know who placed it on the Arc of History.”
In the report, Foisel told police “he used a large ladder in the early (morning) of Oct. 31, 2014, and did not climb on the structure in anyway.”
The report says King “explained to Foisel the potential liability of his actions and requested that he approach the city about any future actions of this nature. Foisel said he understood. The dinosaur head was later released to Foisel.”
Despite police encouragement, Dugdale said Foisel had not yet come to City Hall with his tail between his dinosaur head, let alone apologized.
Time will tell whether other artists – emboldened by the impunity with which Foisel desecrated the Arc of History – will start blaspheming Durango’s public artworks en masse.
Studio & is selling the dinosaur head in a weeklong silent auction, with a starting bid of $100.
Kapustka said proceeds would go to the Durango Arts Center, which will spend the money on arts education.
Kapustka denied that the artist was using philanthropy to launder the profits of his crime.
“It’s like Robin Hood! They don’t want to make any money off of it. Who doesn’t want funding for arts education?” he said.
Asked whether Durangoans should avoid bidding on the dinosaur head for legal reasons, City Attorney Dirk Nelson said, “I’m not going to extend advice like that to anyone,” he said.