Talk about negative campaigning.
Fake NYPD wanted posters showing the faces of President Obama and White House hopeful Mitt Romney have popped up around Williamsburg in an act of subversive street art that’s anything but a presidential endorsement.
In fact, the posters accuse both bitter political rivals of alleged crimes including “murder and conspiracy to further the revocation of constitutional liberties.”
The police-sketch style drawings feature the heights, ages, weights, and names of both “suspects,” a lengthy description of their alleged wrongdoing, and even the NYPD logo.
Obama takes heat for his decision to order a September 2011 drone attack that killed American-born Yemeni cleric Anwar Al-Aulaqi, while the poster warns Brooklynites to look out for Romney, who was last spotted wearing a “charcoal suit with blue tie and American flag lapel pin.”
The posters appear to be the latest work of the activist and artist working under the moniker Essam, who has plastered the borough with street art addressing police and military control in recent months.
The Brooklyn Paper tried to contact Essam, but he keeps a low-profile and doesn’t have a website, or a readily visible Twitter or Facebook account.
But he did speak with the arts and culture website Animal New York last month after he put up 100 posters mocking the NYPD for plans to fly military-style drones over the city, claiming he’s just trying to spark a discussion.
“If the people want [drones], that’s what they want,” Essam said. “But we’re not having that conversation, so that’s what I’m here to start.”
He also said that poster art is new to him.
“I’m not a street artist by nature,” said Essam. “It’s the medium I choose based on the message.”
The wanted-style fliers aren’t as ambitious as his colorful drone posters, which he placed over ads in phone booths and subway stations.
The Obama and Romney mashup is black-and-white, and more likely to be found taped to telephone polls next to other fliers.
But the fake NYPD release is certainly eyecatching — and NURTUREart gallery director Marco Antonini believes it’s effective, even if it’s a bit of a cliche.
“On a visual and conceptual level, it seem facile or even naive, but from a communication standpoint, it works infinitely more than gallery art,” said Antonini. “A lot of people will remember that. Maybe not for too long.”