The latest abuse to the much-maligned Shepard Fairey May Day mural at Houston and Bowery comes via a tag on a poster of Keith Haring’s face located on an ATM around the corner on Bowery, reports EV Grieve. It reads, “Put my mural back” and “What’s up with this Shepard guy?”
The mural, stripped of its dignity time and time again, is dying a slow and ugly death — including being tagged and punctured; torn up with a message, “Fuck Shepard Fairey…”; covered with plywood and tagged with a huge penis; painted black; and squeegee-tagged by Ms. Squeegee.
Haring, who died of AIDS in 1990, made the wall at Houston and Bowery famous with his Day-Glo mural in the 1980s, which was recreated in 2008. The Haring revamp, also by Deitch Projects, wasn’t tagged at all, except by LAII, who decorated the work with his tags as he had throughout his artistic partnership with Haring. And the mural on Houston immediately previous to Fairey’s, by Brazilian artists Os Gemeos, still stands relatively untouched behind the current beat-up work, which was created on an overlaying structure to protect the Os Gemeos mural.
In the past, the corner seems to have garnered the respect of the street artist powers that be. But not so with the Fairey mural: Even before most of the outside abuse, days after Fairey finished the work, the Department of Buildings posted a notice threatening to have the work removed because the structure was built without a permit.