Alibi V.12 No.37 • Sept 11-17, 2003 

Art Article

There's no better way to further an artistic career than to have a bunch of stuffed-shirt Republican wankers attack your work in the national media.

When Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean organized a recent rally in New York City, he wanted to give his appearance a little urban flair. To do so, he hired an artist named Keo from the Lower East Side to paint an edgy, street-wise backdrop for his speech.

Keo's backdrop looked quite a bit like graffiti. It consisted of big, puffy, spray-can lettering with phrases like "Take Back America" and "Mom" sprawling across its wide surface.

The 37-year-old artist got his start spray painting subway trains. Keo's work can now be found in galleries all over the world.

Yet Staten Island councilman James Oddo and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg were not impressed by Keo's creation. Oddo pointed out that the city had spent millions eradicating graffiti from subways and buildings. "Maybe in your world, graffiti vandals are artists," Oddo wrote to Dean's campaign. "In New York City—and in the real world—they are criminals who destroy our quality of life."

The "criminal" has been doing better business than ever since the Republicans threw their tantrum.