Screw, December 10, 1984
It’s comforting to know that some people still consider snarling “faggot” at someone a devastating put-down, especially when the slur is hurled in a context involving the newly bloomed Lower East Side gallery scene and the anti-gentrification movement against it.
Keith Haring’s subway art scrawls have been assembled into a docu-photo book by Tseng Kwong Chi. At the opening for the book, held at Semaphore East, a gallery at 10th Street and Avenue B, a bit of Alphabet City guerilla graffito surfaced on a mattress propped up across the street. The vaguely Haring-esque cartoon pictured everybody’s post modernist darling in in flagrante delicto with an anatomically overburdened (having both tits and cock) gallery owner.
An argument erupted over whether the mattress ought to be allowed its right of free expression, and police had to be called to cool things down. Although it should come as no surprise to anyone that successful artists whore themselves to gallery owners, and even through the gallery in question replaced a Hispanic housing-clinic office, the flap seems a little overblown, so to speak. But we’re glad Mattress Art is making a comeback, because it’s the second best thing we can think of to do on one.
Photo by Gary Azon