The Post-Vandalism Movement

I spend a lot of time calling out little things in life that just, well, get stuck in my craw, as they say in the classics.

Today, I want to switch gears and share a “little thing” which has been making me smile a lot: the increased creativity of NY’s subway vandals.

Now I am not talking about the average little tagger with a permanent marker scribbling his pseudonym on a seat. That’s just plain simple vandalism. Mindless. Boring. “Whack”, as the kids would say.

No, I mean the creative spirits who have chosen subway billboards and posters as their canvas and at once mixed the modern phenom of “ad-busting” with a neat way to pass the time as the subway progressivel gets slower and slower (oops, I am not meant to be complaining today!).

It starts with the old classics – drawing moustaches and goatee beards and mono-brows on the people. Yes, it’s a bit passe and we’ve all done it in magazines, but the seeds of subversive creativity must first sprout in small ways.

It seems to then move onto the “eye-cutters” – carefully removing the eyes to reveal the poster below and leaving the gorgeous actress looking like a possessed zombie from a second-rate horror flick. I like to imagine that they take the eyes home and stick them to their wall as trophies. Or wear them on a string around their neck, serial killer stylie.

After this, creativity meets message and the true artists of our generation are born. Their rebellious penchant for defacing public images finally finds it’s cause.

Some favorite examples:
– a true (starving) artist at heart has “adjusted” the message of MoMA’s poster campaign changing all the positive emotions MoMA promises, to his or her actual feelings when they saw the admission price. From “curiosity” to “ANGER”, “wonderment” to “DEPRESSION” and “surprise” to “SORROW”. Best of all – where MoMA simply asks “Belong” (and then shows their membership web address) our artiste has added, “or be turned away. You are not worthy of our art!”

– the Project Runway poster with Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum pumped out in new black-marker-scribbled tees, caps and bling, and a few letters removed to totally change the tone of the program: “PROJECT –NWA-“. “Auf weidersehn, muthafuckaz!”
– but my favorite was the Upper East Side cut & paste job that removed letters from various of Pepsi’s ubiquitous subway campaign posters and restuck them to reveal a deeper truth. I’ll let the picture speak for itself … But let me just say, “kudos, my friend!”

They should be charging 27 bucks for people to view THAT at MoMA.

— Irish


One Response to “The Post-Vandalism Movement”

  1. Doug Cress Says:


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