This weekend when I was running in my neighborhood in Atlanta, I was excited to come across one of artist Tatyana Fazlalizadeh‘s “Stop Telling Women to Smile” posters freshly plastered on the side of the Krog Street Tunnel. Fazlalizadeh’s anti-street harassment public art project, which we’ve covered before, started in Brooklyn, has spread to several major American cities, and just yesterday graced the pages of The New York Times.
As the Times feature notes, the particular poster I snapped a photo of on Saturday (on left) had been defaced by Sunday night with a smile spray-painted over Fazlalizadeh’s face and the words “Force It” scrawled underneath. I went back to check it out today and found the defacement now seems to have been defaced (as seen in the photo to the right). As Fazlalizadeh says, “Visual art, especially, is right in your face.” And public art, especially, gives you a chance to see the reactions it sparks — both good and bad.
Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.