Art attack! Street artist uses Park Slope sign as canvas

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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.”

Updated 5:26 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Joe Z. from Greenpoint says:
“If anything, I’m giving people free art.”

If anything, you're committing vandalism by defacing a traffic device with an unauthorized sign. You don't have the protection of free speech, or of expression, when you decide to utilize a signpost as a canvas for your B.S. You have no special privileges as an "artist", a term used too freely by too many people. A rhesus monkey drawing with a crayon could also be considered an "artist" when applying the same watered down criteria used to define your particular avocation.
Oct. 3, 2011, 6:01 am
Or from Yellow Hook says:
Next thing you'll be telling me that grafitti is art.
Oct. 3, 2011, 7:23 am
Dave from Park Slope says:
Wow, Joe Z., self-righteous much? A "traffic device?" It's a parking sign post. Chill.
Oct. 3, 2011, 8:51 am
prillis from PS says:
if these signs were smart, interesting, provocative, or even amusing, i'd be all for them. the one i saw (above) is just boring. yawn.
Oct. 3, 2011, 3:35 pm
Joe Z. from Greenpoint says:
Hey Dave!

Can I use you as a canvas? I'd like to hot glue rotini onto you as part of my socially relevant, thought provoking and whimsical gallery exhibition titled "Dave from Park Slope, Al Dente Signpost Up Ahead".
Oct. 3, 2011, 8:44 pm
Or from Yellow Hook says:
I do nothing but stay home and write my angry thoughts. I'm a sad man...
Oct. 3, 2011, 11:06 pm
Joe Z. from Greenpoint says:
You should get out more often.
Oct. 4, 2011, 5:26 am
Adam Prince from Park slope says:
Anyone see bicycles locked to thes poles? Is that any less illegal?
Oct. 16, 2011, 8:47 pm
Adam Prince from Park slope says:
Anyone see a bicycle locked to these poles? Is that less illegal or just not illegal at all?
Oct. 16, 2011, 8:48 pm
Leigh R. from Crown Heights says:
Are people so afraid of being bad parents that it is up to everyone else to raise their children? Own up! Teach them right from wrong and maybe you will get a clue and realize that this really is no big deal.
Oct. 16, 2011, 8:58 pm
Mark S. from Prospect Heights says:
I saw two guys with a saw take one of his pieces down at 4 in the morning on my way home from Soda. The DOT is that inept?
Oct. 16, 2011, 9 pm
jer from seaport Manhattan says:
Is this paper and the people of Park Slope so small minded that this is what they have to be irate about? Enjoy the art or take it down. The work has destroyed nothing. If you are worried that this art will influence your child don't let him watch tv read a newspaper or listen to a radio and move back to Iowa.
Oct. 16, 2011, 9:41 pm
Stacey from Queens says:
Peace to RK for pushing the boundaries of the art of graffiti. His stuff just enhances the experience of walking through the city. If anyone dislikes it for any reason, you're in the WRONG place. Move to Kansas.
Oct. 17, 2011, 10:42 am
Jordon from Prospect Park South says:
I think I enjoy this somewhat public debate as much as I enjoy the art.
I've seen RK's work posted up in various spots around Brooklyn, and they are all pretty engaging and somewhat different. More often than not though, his pieces have been defaced themselves by people who don't seem to have the wherewithal to take them down for their own use.
Guys like Joe Z can poo poo this type of art all they want while secretly wishing they had any kind of talent or creative drive to attempt something like this.
I'm eagerly awaiting the piece he and his monkey come up with...
Oct. 17, 2011, 11:55 am
Harley from Financial District says:
Welcome to New York! Half of the comments are most likely from people who were not born or raised in New York City. This IS what New York is about, haters! If you don't understand that art pushes the envelope and that most artists who ever made a difference (sticking to the street artist theme: Keith Harring or Fab 5 Freddy) have always been met with resistance and disdain UNTIL their popularity hit the mainstream therefore making it "safe" for people like you to like, then you should move back to wherever it is that lost another closed minded ignoramous. Keep it up, King! Love it!
Oct. 17, 2011, 12:02 pm
Angie from Carroll Gardens says:
What kind of pills? Maybe he means vitamins. Wouldn't that be a good message for all the boys and girls of Brooklyn?
Oct. 17, 2011, 2:40 pm

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