Defacing is for fascists

From the July 2

A vandal lobbed black paint at a mural of former Philadelphia Mayor Frank Rizzo in the Italian Market over the weekend and sprayed “fascista” in red beneath him.

Police said they received a report on Saturday that the mural at 9th and Montrose streets had been hit and are investigating the incident. A large black splotch of paint hit directly over Rizzo’s right eye, and paint splattered along the parking lot that the mural faces. On Sunday afternoon, the occasional passer-by stopped to take a picture of the defaced former mayor and police commissioner.

Rizzo was a fascist and I’m glad he’s long gone, but I can’t warm up to the barbarism of trashing public art. And would the rad guy who threw the paint, maybe after a few beers at The Dive, have the balls to face off against a live cop? Not likely.

I know the woman who painted the mural, a liberal academic and a good person. Apparently, the vandal(s) didn’t get the irony of the artist’s fascist-style depiction of Big Frank. He didn’t understand that the mural spoofs everything Rizzo stood for while, at the same time, pleasing the sort of people who admire fascists and other totalitarians. It is neatly subversive. The vandal is more of a totalitarian than Rizzo, another irony that he is too stupid to appreciate.

This entry was posted in arts, life in the big city, Philadelphia, Politics and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Defacing is for fascists

  1. robinhood63 says:

    It’s just as likely that the clown hasn’t the foggiest idea what fascist means but someone gave him a roll of word-of-the-day toilet paper.


    • Would you forgive me if I’d lobbed tar balls at a few choice gable ends in Belfast without consulting the ettiquette of art? I know the Rizzo muralist too, and I know how hard she worked to make the mural and how hard she still works to maintain it, but she’s doubtless aware of the historical fact that any public art with political content is asking for it. Not a single portrait of Nero survives.


  2. Merde, I spelt “etiquette” wrong!


  3. Of course she’s aware. I should have mentioned that the Rizzo mural was defaced and repaired a few times in the past, and will probably be defaced again. Just making a point about people who resort to defacing art because they’re too cowardly to confront their real-life enemies and, sometimes, too stupid to understand the point of the art. Such people are about as politically astute as kids who egg houses on Mischief Night.


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