Defaced vandalism makes it into a gallery

Warhol and Basquiat

Let’s be real: Subjectively, it is difficult to see these and not immediately think of Mr. Brainwash, Supreme, or any of the other thousands of examples of celebrity images used in wheatpasted vandalism.

If I walked by one of these I would probably deface it until I really felt it learned its lesson.

This was the response Burton Machen was hoping for he when went around New York City and Los Angeles putting these up. Machen periodically revisited his paste-ups to document their evolution with time, and the alterations or destructive contributions of passersby.

Cindy Sherman and Terry Richardson

Next month, April 19th to May 19th, Hionas Gallery in New York will be exhibiting photographs of his defaced posters and others selected works, in Machen’s upcoming show Urban Evolution: PORTRAITS PROJECT.

Personally, I feel a lot less compelled to deface images of people I don’t know. Do you think Machen’s choice to use celebrities was a matter of taste or a strategic move to maximize their alterations?

Images courtesy of Hionas Gallery