Catch it while you can: A renegade artist has used a Park Slope “No Parking” signpost to showcase a pop art commentary on drug use — but city officials say it won’t be gracing the streetscape much longer.
Russell King — a street artist who bolts his faux “public announcements” to city-owned poles across the country — has morphed a Fifth Avenue parking sign into a statement about the allure of prescription drugs.
The artwork, fastened to a sign near President Street, features a “Mad Men”-era gentleman saying, “I’m sexier than you ’cause I pop pills!!!”
It’s meant be ironic, in case you didn’t know.
It’s also illegal.
“Our enforcement personnel identified it, but were unable to remove it,” said Matthew LiPani, a spokesman for the Department of Sanitation. “This will be referred to Department of Transportation.”
That bothers King, who said he doesn’t plan to stop turning poles into canvases.
“I’ve had people tell me it’s too ‘in-your-face,’ ” he said. “But I guess you either love it or you hate it.”
There’s plenty of both opinions to go around in a neighborhood that prides itself on two things: being hip and being breeders.
“It does seem like it fits in here — at least as far as the social scene — but I’m a parent and I have to question whether he could have delivered a better message,” said Kevin Hsieh, rendering his critical assessment last week.
Others said that they support freedom of expression on almost any level — especially in a neighborhood that has earned a cache as a hub for writer-types and artists.
“Come on, this is New York: Kids are gonna see a lot of stuff,” said Nelson Rodriguez, who said he liked the art. “It’s interesting and he’s speaking his mind. I say, leave the guy alone.”
King naturally agrees.
“It’s not obstructing or damaging anything and it doesn’t confuse people about traffic patterns,” said King, who has said that he considers the piece “fine art” because it attacks cultural priorities. “If anything, I’m giving people free art.”
©2011 Community News Group
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