The writing on the wall: City viaducts as canvas
Muammar Gadhafi lives in the form of a stenciling on the whitewashed walls of a viaduct at Hubbard and May streets.
He's dressed in his colonel's uniform — his hair curling out from beneath his military dress hat — holding a sign with a bit of wordplay that indicates he might still, even now, have a thing for
Condolezza Rice. Admittedly, I smiled a bit when I saw it.
We live in a city of viaducts and underpasses — a legacy of our time as railroad capital of the world. Viaducts separate "here" from "there," "us" from "them." They mark the boundaries of our neighborhoods. But their white-painted walls — better to reflect light and convey safety — provide a big, blank canvas for art and messages that are sometimes crude, thoughtful, humorous or mysterious. Just like the city itself.
I stumbled on this message painted on the side of a Metra embankment near 86th Street and Vincennes Avenue about two months ago. The now-removed work references artist Jeff Koons' 1980s piece Ushering in Banality
, but beyond that I'm clueless. What do you make of it?
Back to the viaduct at Hubbard and May streets. A few days ago, this tribute could be seen:
And so could what might be the most important message of the day: