Friday, May 21, 2010

Does this image promote violence ?

I am not a Shepard Fairey fan. His stuff is ok. It's pleasant. As part of his recent installation/show/exhibit at the Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center, several murals/installations have been put up throughout the Cincinnati/NKY area. I think that is pretty cool. Kinda like the Artworks thingie.
In Covington, folks have decided this image was "offensive" and "inappropriate". Why? They seem to think that it promotes youth violence and, being situated across from a school, will lead the students to modify their M-16s with AK-47 clips and go around killing people (or at least stand guard).
This image is so pro-peace, I can't stand it. Children in poor countries are frequently put in positions of authority & armed. American soldiers have expressed dismay at defending themselves from armed & hostile children. P.J. O'Rourke has a funny but disturbing story about being challenged by an armed child (which, of course, I can't find). The message of the image isn't about armed kids terrorizing people, which they do around here anyway. It's about the responsibility of the adults & their social order to provide a better life for their children.
But the fine folks of Covington find it offensive & have painted it over.
To hell with the fact the owner of the building agreed to host the work & his word means nothing.
What really sucks is that such displays will likely bypass the region now because of the acts of a few small minded people.

Maybe they can put up a cigarette ad.

Covington's Arts Director sez:
The decision to remove the Shepard Fairey mural located at 242 Pike Street was the sole decision of the owners of the building who hosted the mural, MAC Productions. The Shepard Fairey mural was not a City-led project and the City had absolutely no involvement in the removal of it.
Shortly after the mural was put up, both praise and complaints reached the City and MAC Productions. Strongest reaction was directed toward the content of a boy soldier holding a gun and the location of the mural being directly across the street from the John G. Carlisle Elementary School.
Covington Arts District Manager Natalie Bowers said "Support of the Arts is part of the Economic Development initiative of the City and in no way does the building owner's decision to remove this mural reflect the huge amount of support that the City gives to Art and our Creative Community. This was a decision made by a business owner and we, as a community, have to respect that. I can only thank MAC Productions for going out on a limb and trying to support the Arts by offering their wall to the project. And thank you to the CAC for hosting the artist and sharing his talent with the community. We will continue to support the Arts and are only sorry that this unfortunate circumstance has occurred. As the Arts District Manager, I hope our creative community understands that this reaction in no way reflects our City's or Community's support of the Arts. We will continue to strive for freedom of expression and support for the Arts. Perhaps this incident will spark some enlightening debate for future endeavors."

Fishwrap story here.


CaptJ said...

Eh...the owner of the building changed his mind. Big deal. I think the region has been more than accommodating to Mr. F and doubt that this will cause any other pseudo-muralists to stay away.

I think the PJ O'Rourke story is from his time in the Manilla, but I can't find my copy of Holidays in Hell either....

Quimbob said...

Unfortunately the building owner gave his word. Even a verbal agreement is a contract. I guess the owners word means nothing.

CaptJ said...

I think your guess is correct.

Anonymous said...

Unless money changed hands, the owner has every right to determine what stays on his building, and what goes.

Quimbob said...