The Fussy Eye: Screaming Street Art

Why is this woman so angry?

Somewhere between tagging and city-sanctioned public art is the clever appropriation of signage or other unused municipal surfaces for covert art. At the upper—and now salable—end of the spectrum, you have street artists like Banksy and Shepard Fairey, featured in the new documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop (see page 51 for review). But then there are the anonymous graffiti artists and wielders of wheat paste who slap up stencils and posters, then disappear. Sometimes you see their work later in a gallery, so you can put a name to the style. And in other instances, the same motif will show up on a political campaign button or in advertisements. Though this agitated, unidentified face seems a bit too angry for commercial purposes. She—it's a she, yes?—appears mightily pissed about something. Yelling or screaming or warning someone not to take her photo, perhaps? She's been grafted onto what looks to have been an old parking sign attached high on a streetlamp, just above eye level. The style somewhat resembles the stencil work of French street artist C215 (aka Christian Guémy), but I can't place the source image. Princess Di? Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth? She's familiar, but out of her element somehow. Out of sorts, outraged, outdoors, hanging where she doesn't belong. Unless of course she's part of some viral marketing effort, in which case we'll get to know her when we hand over the money. Western Avenue & Pike Street.

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