Michael Snow sues Festival Tower condo developer for $950,000 for turning down art
Michael Snow doesn’t take rejection lying down. The renowned artist (better known as the man behind the flying geese at the Eaton Centre) is seeking $950,000 in damages from filmmaker Ivan Reitman, Toronto condo developer Daniels Corp., and its joint venture, King John Festival Corp., after the developers abruptly withdrew from a project they’d commissioned for the Festival Tower (the condo building adjacent to the Bell Lightbox), according to a statement of claim filed by Snow July 16 and made public yesterday.
Snow had been commissioned to create a piece called Tower of Film, composed of a floor-to-ceiling, seven-frame lenticular film strip sandwiched between thick, hardened glass sheets to be placed by the John Street lobby entrance of the condo tower. After two years of work, Snow presented his design proposal in December 2008 to the KJFC board of directors, where it was lauded by the Reitman family (who donated $22 million to the Bell Lightbox), senior executives of Daniels and the building’s project director, art consultant and architect. “Based on that approval,” Snow said, “I was to proceed to the final design.”
When it came down to funding, though, developers were not so keen and, for undisclosed reasons, ultimately pulled the plug. “Eventually, and completely out of the blue in my opinion, I received a letter from Daniels stating that KJFC has decided not to go ahead with me and my project,” Snow said. Snow’s agent, Ian McCallum, claims the artist has put in years of work on the project but has been paid only $20,000. Snow told the Star he still wants to go ahead with the project, but if you’re planning on going to see Snow’s showcase of his film Wavelengths at the Bell Lightbox in October, prepare for a change of venue.