Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Decapitator

The Decapitator, an anonymous graffiti artist who has been attacking ads in London, Sao Paulo, and Paris, has arrived in New York--and, just this week, heads have started to roll!

photos from my flickr

In June, Environmental Graffiti wrote, "Kissing couples, beautiful models and aspiring celebs have all come under ‘the East London decapitator’s’ knife; their beautiful heads replaced by bony, blood drenched stumps. His artworks are defined by the media as culture jamming or sub-vertising, which Wikipedia describes as, ‘the practice of making spoofs or parodies of corporate and political advertisements in order to make a statement.'"

In these photos taken on 23rd Street in Chelsea, the Decapitator has claimed the head of Shakira. Looking at a nearby original, pre-decapitation, you can see how the Decapitator has meticulously prepared a perfect puzzle piece that fits the shoulders and removes the entire head, adding vivid blood spatter to the title text.

Now, the Decapitator steps up his/her game with a special issue of this bloody Rolling Stone, planted at Barnes & Noble in Union Square.

Wired compares the graffiti to the works of Ron English and The Splasher. It's an exciting innovation in culture jamming.

However, as Words & Pictures noted, the Decapitator "targets women over men by a five to one ratio." They wonder if the graffiti artist is a "Psycho who hates women or activist stickin' it to the Man?"

An unsettling thought. What do you think? Take a look at the entire oeuvre on the Decapitator's Flickr page--and don't miss the masterpiece in which Carrie Bradshaw carries her own head, Medusa-style, in a Sex & the City billboard.


Bowery Boogie said...

sex and the city one is priceless.

kingb said...

now that is a public servant

EV Grieve said...

Does The Decapitator take requests?

BrooksNYC said...


Jim VB said...

More please!

Jeremiah Moss said...

what would you request?

sadly, i searched barnes and noble for those special magazines and came up empty. did anyone find one?

Kevin Walsh said...

Bring me the head of Shakira, as long as it's attached to the rest of her.

Eden Bee said...

I love the Decapitator! Sounds like a GWAR song..

JackS said...

Ehhh, this disturbs me. The ratio of men to women thing... Well, aren’t magazine covers dominated with pictures of women?

Still, this is not a positive statement—even from a culture jamming angle—in my eyes.

Gaziano said...

Police Department, Detective Ed Moran speaking.

Hello Ed, this is Jim Johnson, from Metromedia News.

Hey Jim, how are ya? What can I do for you?

Good. Listen, I just got another letter from the Culture Jammer.

Culture Jammer? Oh, yea, the guy who's cutting all the women's heads off?

Yea, on posters. He cuts 'em off on posters.

Yea, I know. What's up? Now he’s telling you he’s gonna cut ‘em off in real life?

Ed, this letter is definitely from him. It’s addressed to me. It starts out with the same opening line. It's not pasted words cutout from magazines and newspapers like the others we got. It’s hand-written. This time it’s different. It’s like David Berkowitz stuff.

What do you mean?

Well, I don’t know what it means. Why don’t I just read it you?

Ok, read it.

It says: “Dear Jim, Hello again from the gutters of N.Y.C. The sweeper trucks cannot wash me away. It won't be long before NOLITA looks like the right-hand panel of Hieronymus Bosch's triptych, THE GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS, where man's fall from grace is met with the eternal fires of retribution and damnation, where human corpses are fed upon by rabid beasts and horned witches. Some of the chosen (those wearing Gucci and Prada) are eaten alive and partially digested by a bird-like Satan sitting on a gold toilet, who defecates them into a boiling black pit of excretas. Tell me Jim. What will you have for January twenty-ninth?”

That’s it. It’s signed THE CULTURE JAMMER, in all caps. And I’m worried about that last line.

OK. Wow, that's dark. Why don't I send a courier over there and we can pick...

Ed, hang on a minute. Yes, I'll have a glass of the ’99 Lafite. I’ll start with a mixed green salad with organic pears, and I'll take the Osso Buco, with tomatoes, anchovies and garlic, thanks.