Taggers wasted no time marking up the Bowery wall’s newest mural.
In a matter of days, the letters BTM were sprayed across the mural. Some on social media speculated it had been tagged by the graffiti crew Big Time Mob, or Big Time Mafia, depending on who you ask.
The Seattle crew, best known for Katsu’s fire-extinguisher bombing, is all about “agitating the structures that are trying to co-opt and coerce the subculture they’ve helped build,” as Acclaim put it. Tagging a mural by a controversial artist would seem to accomplish exactly that.
During an episode of his podcast in 2014, Choe described getting a massage during which he started pleasuring himself and placing the masseuse’s hand on his genitals without asking permission: “She has given me no signs that she’s into me or that this is appropriate behavior… So I go back to the chill method of you never ask first, you just do it, get in trouble and then pay the price later.” He maintained that his behavior, which ended in oral sex, may have been “rapey,” but he was not a rapist. Later, he said the story wasn’t factual, and chalked it up to “bad storytelling in the style of douche.” Last week, before the mural’s defacement, Hyperallergic revisited the episode in a post titled, “How the New Bowery Wall Commission Puts Rape Culture on Display.”
This isn’t the first time the Bowery mural, which was most recently painted by Pichi & Avo, has been marred. In 2010 Shepard Fairey’s mural was tagged extensively and the wall, which had a protective barrier between Fairey’s mural and the previous one, was broken through, exposing the underlying Os Gemeos mural. The damage was so bad that the wall had to be protected with wooden boards.
We haven’t yet heard back from Choe or from Goldman Global Arts, which commissioned the work. As of this evening, the tag was still up.