Mural Protests Taylor Swift’s Global Welcome Ambassador Appointment
When Kara Mullins and Osvaldo Jimenez heard that the singer, songwriter, and actress Taylor Swift had been appointed New York City’s “global welcome ambassador” they responded in true New York fashion.
The Huffington Post reports that the couple, owners of the vintage clothing shop La Petite Mort, commissioned the graffiti artist Antonio Garcia, better known as Chico, to paint a mural on their storefront’s rolling gate proclaiming R.I.P. Taylor Swift.
In an Instagram post Mullins and Jimenez explained that “Our comment is on the whitewashing and gentrification of New York. While we realize and appreciate that New York is ever changing, when a starving artist once representative of the New York spirit is replaced by the modern $19 million dollar condo owner who drinks lattes we have to shake our heads.”
They went on to clarify, “While Taylor Swift is alive and well and we wish her no harm, she did kill off yet another piece of that broken New York spirit. The idea of her being our spokesperson is dead and we expressed that through a true New York artist […]”
Mullins said that Chico, who has painted murals in the Lower East Side since the 1980s, has been forced to move to Florida because he could no longer afford to pay the rising rents in New York City. She told Huffington Post that “R.I.P. Taylor Swift” really means “R.I.P. New York.”
Meanwhile critics have argued that the owners of a store selling used designer dresses are benefitting from the very gentrification that they are complaining about. According to Linda Stasi of Daily News “La Petite Mort sells $550 used Versace dresses where $20 girdle stores used thrive just a decade ago.”
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