Poster Boy Exhibit Moved from Trinity College to Hamilton Street
By Kerri Provost
September 13, 2011
It was supposed to be a solo show.
Instead, Poster Boy’s art shared a space with yet-t0-be-altered canvas; the exhibit was also moved outdoors. This unsanctioned display on Hamilton Street (by the railroad tracks) is what audiences will have to settle for if they did not manage to see the show that was completely set up last week and then removed from the gallery at Trinity College this morning. The new display featuring two altered billboards was created last night; it does not include the works intended for the exhibit at Trinity College.
When I spoke with the artist, he said that officials at the college dubbed the show “postponed until further notice.” Poster Boy, however, called it censorship. Initially, when the solo exhibit was arranged, nobody there expressed concerns about the nature of the work: billboards that had been altered and then removed. Apparently no one did a quick search of the Internet until late last week to learn about Poster Boy and what is involved in modifying advertisements. He is known for his work on ads and signs within the New York subway system.
Given the amount of appropriation that occurs in modern and contemporary art, cracking down on this particular exhibit seems surprising. Artists like Andy Warhol, Banksy, and Shepard Fairey are known for practicing various types of appropriation. The billboard above, altered by Poster Boy, was inspired by L.H.O.O.Q by Marcel Duchamp. The work — a readymade — by Duchamp features the addition of facial hair to the Mona Lisa. Poster Boy’s rendition makes the Mona Lisa into what the billboard already suggests passersby do, but adds letters meant to be read aloud in English; the Duchamp version, intended to be read aloud in French, is a raunchy pun.
Brooklyn Street Art aptly describes how the “viewer [of Poster Boy's work] is forced to consider the difference between what is legal and what is right.”
Legal concerns were noted as the impetus for postponing/canceling/censoring the show.
You can view Poster Boy’s art on billboards on Hamilton Street between Bartholomew Avenue and Francis Avenue until someone decides to remove the signs. He said he would be returning to New York soon; otherwise, he would have enjoyed modifying some of the political campaign signs around Hartford.
Reprinted with permission of Kerri Provost, author of the blog RealHartford.
To view other stories on this topic, search RealHartford at http://www.realhartford.org/.