The answer to Brooklyn’s biggest question — whether a ubiquitous graffiti image depicts a chicken with a penis for a head, or a penis with a chicken for a body — might finally be revealed on Oct. 23.
The prolific street artist Dick Chicken, whose tags and stencils of a creature that is part fowl and part phallus have popped up on countless walls and fences throughout North Brooklyn, will bring his art indoors for his first solo show at 3rd Ward’s new Williamsburg location.
Though questions directed to a publicist representing the graffiti writer — yes, you read that right — were not answered, the street artist had this to say about his “Girls & Snacks” show, which runs until Nov. 1.
“Is there a larger metaphor at work? Is this work social commentary?” he pondered among other questions on 3rd Ward’s Web site. “Maybe it is about whimsy, the idea that something can affect you on a base level. You can laugh and dance and play, without looking for meaning, like when you hear a good song. … Maybe it’s about none of those things.”
A spokeswoman for 3rd Ward had a slightly more coherent message about the artist’s iconic cock-faced cock.
“He’s obviously really hot right now,” said the spokeswoman, Nikki Bagli, whose gallery recently included an exhibit by equally hyped (and, some say, equally criminal) subway station artist Poster Boy. “For this show, he’s basically going to show everyone everything he’s capable of doing. It’s a diverse show, with lots of versions of the Dick Chicken. You’ll see it outfitted in many different ways.”
At the opening, art lovers will be able to wash down all that Dick Chicken with free cocktails and Colt 45.
It’s the first mid-career retrospective for the “artist,” whose work is as omnipresent in North Brooklyn as used condoms are in the Gowanus. In fact, he’s already spawned an imitator (or, perhaps, a female admirer) in the form of Pussy Ham, a vaginal pork shank that is often re-tagged next to Dick Chicken’s trademark image.
The man on the street — well, at least one man — seems to enjoy the whimsy of it all.
“The [phallus] and the chicken really compliment each other,” said Dan Haller, as he passed a Dick Chicken work on Bayard Street between Lorimer Street and Union Avenue in Williamsburg. “It is art, but like any art that I might not like, it deserves to exist.”
Others found the fowl foul.
“It’s totally unimaginative,” said Di Mainstone. “Worse, it’s everywhere, like a brand, even on the door of the design firm where I work in Chelsea.”
Terrence Pugh added just one word for the feathered phallus: “Nasty.”
In other news that involves 3rd Ward and chicken, the art center is about to launch an American restaurant out of a retrofitted trailer at the corner of Metropolitan Avenue and Lorimer Street.
For now, the group is remaining tight-lipped about the plan — which was first reported on the venerable North Brooklyn culture blog Free Williamsburg.
“We are bringing some life to a very good corner that’s been vacant for a while,” said Bagli.
Dick Chicken’s “Girls & Snacks” at 3rd Ward [573 Metropolitan Ave. between Union Avenue and Lorimer Street in Williamsburg, (718) 715-4961] opens on Oct. 23, 7–10 pm. The exhibit runs until Nov. 1. Free. Photos of Dick Chicken’s work courtesy of Phillippppp’s and Hrag Vartanian’s Flickr page.
— with Sabrina Jaszi