Feelings aboutBoxer Girl are pouring onto the Bloomingdale listserv—-everything from a high-minded “let’s consider this in a historical context” response (3) to a general screed about gentrification and bigots. (4) I don’t quite follow it.
(1) From a W Street NW resident: “Having just bought a house on W street, I also wanted to weigh in on boxer girl…. I LOVE the mural and the idea that we have public art on our street. It’s cool and funky and urban and I hope our neighborhood stays that way. Not all the newbies on the street are against the mural!”
(2) From a North Capitol Street NW resident: “When I first heard about the BoxerGirl controversy, I was thinking: Probably not as big of a deal as people think… but then I saw it. Man that is one ugly painting! The colors look like they were chosen by a 3rd grader! Its just not aesthetically pleasing. I’d be annoyed too if I had to see it outside my window everyday. And while I know we have bigger issues in the neighborhood, EVERY issue is open for discussion. (Although not that I give a crap about this issue since I don’t live on W).”
(3) From a 2nd Street NW resident: “I finally got a chance to walk over to see Boxer Girl yesterday and to be honest, while I like what I see, I completely understand why some others do not. However, that being said, for those who are vehemently against Boxer Girl’s presence, you must remember that it’s existence is a direct function of our free society. While the Constitution does not directly and in writing say you can paint whatever you want on your home, it does directly protect the freedom of speech and speech includes art. There is nothing vulgar or profane about her. There are no swear words or nudity, no gore or blood, and no hateful or racist overtones to her. She simply is one artist’s vision. Who are we to judge art? Bear in mind that to present, there have been a great deal of controversy surrounding works of art like the Last Supper, Mona Lisa, David, and many other pieces we consider priceless and of extreme historical/cultural importance. Some of those works are studied as part of our public school curriculum. I am not saying that someday Boxer Girl will be immortalized behind thick glass at the Louvre or some other art museum but we cannot diminish its importance by calling for its destruction or insist we add a smile and dampen down the “3rd Grade” colors. Again, what is nice about our free society is that you are free to paint something like Boxer Girl on your house and on the flip side you are free to talk about how much you do not like her, and the police will not visit your home and arrest you and we will not take you out in the town square and stone you. We have fought wars, at home and abroad, over just this central issue. Men and Women and Children have died to defend our rights and by taking Boxer Girl down, altering her appearance, or diminishing the vision of the artist you are making those deaths for our rights a simple exercise in futility. An old Chinese Proverb tells us, “Don’t curse the darkness, light a candle.” Maybe instead of yelling about how much you hate Boxer Girl you should find something you like about her or perhaps paint your own mural depicting what you would like to see representing your neighborhood.”
(4) Reference to the mural….I like it. The neighborhood is one of versatility and I’m sure if it were something the new breeded neighbors liked then it would be fine.I notice that the neighbors don’t say things about certain followings in the neighborhood but are more vocal when it is others….If that’s graffiti then so is the mural on elm st next to the school…and why would the news station post the ignorant and defaming comment about maybe she’s celebrating lesbian pride...can’t we just live and stop being haters…the neighborhood has worst issues…tackle some of those or stop looking out your window…w st neighbor…take a vote from the w st neighbors and not just mrs kaufman who only speaks sometimes and depending.”
(5) “Just my two cents, but I think the controversy over this is ridiculous. I love the mural and if my home faced it where I had to see it every day, I’d be happy about that. It is a well done mural. It adds spice to the neighborhood in my opinion and I had planned to show it off to guests who will visit me this year. Let’s face it, just like Veronica said in the video referring to the one neighbor with the gazebo, (to paraphrase) there are neighbors who have their own household, should we say, “eyesores”. I’ve seen yard ornaments that make me want to gag, some people wait a month to cut their lawns, to weed, have indoor/outdoor carpeting on their porches and steps. But this is artwork. – just like the large metal sculptures in some Bloomingdale neighbors’ yards. Can we try to be proud of the beauty and variety that everyone brings to the neighborhood? Can everyone just CHILL OUT?”
Time will tell, time will tell. CHILLING OUT is one possibly option. Or will there be meetings, planning sessions, neighborhood art committees and rowhouse wall design charrettes established to mitigate future mural disagreements?