Since it went up a few months ago, we've seen the unraveling of Shepard Fairey's mural on the Houston Wall go from a few punched holes to the most recent works of a Giant Penis and Ms. Squeegee, and the removal of the Fairey plaque.
His other murals, installed around the same time, have not received the same treatment. The one on the Cooper Square Hotel has gone virtually untouched, while the mural on the Ace Hotel has been simply torn to shreds.
A couple people labeled it "ART" and "STREET ART," but that's about as creative as the vandals got.
No big, boisterous tags. No giant penises. No smiling squeegees. No Paul Richard signage. No "No Trespassing" signs either. (See Grieve's exhaustive coverage for the Houston mural's total decompensation.)
So what's the deal? Are Lower East Siders more imaginative than (what's that neighborhood being branded now--South of Macy's, North of Madison Square) SOMAtists? NOMADs? Are none of our cultural commentators bothering to travel all the way up to West 29th Street?
Maybe if the Ace were still the Breslin hotel, full of artists and eccentrics, we'd have a higher level of innovation in mural defacement. Really, the difference is that the vandalism on Houston has a sense of humor. It's playful and witty. On 29th Street, it just looks angry.
So maybe the Ace mural's shredding is from an outpouring of pure rage, an unleashed energy, damage made by restless ghosts, like an unexpected and violent windstorm that suddenly rises, blowing newspapers and knocking off hats, from the lost and forgotten voices of the Breslin.