By Jamie Wetherbe
1:49 PM PDT, May 15, 2013
A popular art installation in Hong Kong's Victoria Harbor is no longer making waves. A 54-foot rubber duck, designed by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman, started deflating Tuesday, and by Wednesday, the piece looked like a flattened yellow pancake bobbing on the water.
“Rubber Duck” was installed May 2 and has since spawned serenades from city officials, choreographed dances by local groups and brisk sales of duck-related goods.
Officials were slow to report that the piece was deflated as part of a planned tuneup, leaving onlookers to wonder if the bird had been a victim of “fowl” play.
Harbour City officials sent a tweet saying, “The Rubber Duck needs to freshen up. Stay tuned for its return,” and organizers later confirmed the duck was undergoing scheduled maintenance, CNN reported.
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the piece, which has globe-trotted across ports in Australia and Europe. CNN noted that during a 2009 stop in Belgium, someone stabbed the piece 42 times.
Hofman said the goal of the artwork, which will soon make a stop on this side of the pond, is to spark conversation and connection -- or simply to make people smile.
“It makes you feel young again,” he told CNN. "It refers to your childhood when there was no stress or economic pressure, no worry about having to pay the rent.”
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