New Michael Jackson Mural

graffiti by JU, originally uploaded by quigley_brown.

Thanks to all the readers who sent in this new mural. PoPville Flickr user quigley_brown snapped the above photo and writes:

“This is at the Brookland-CUA Metro stop. I had time to get off, shoot this and then hop on the next one (just had my little pocket camera with me). The graffiti artist JU has lots of creative work along the Red Line between Takoma and Union Station.”

22 Comment

  • Can anyone please tell me how everyone went from thinking Michael is a nutjob pedophile to worshiping him as if he was mother theresa? I can agree maybe he was a groundbraking musician but no one seemed to appreciate that a year ago.

  • I think most people appreciated his musical talent, it was just the “nutjob” behavior — as you so flippantly put it — obscured his accomplishments as he got older. Now that he’s dead, people are refocusing on the positive things MJ did with his life as is par for the course with how we treat most people who die. Yes MJ had issues, we all know that, but to ignore or be dismissive of the cultural phenomenon that he was is just silly and bitter. MJ completely redefined what it meant to be a superstar. The worldwide fandom that surrounded MJ in the 80s was pretty much unprecedented then, and many can argue that it is still unmatched today.

  • Death has always been a great marketing tool for celebrities.

    As for “nutjob” being a flippant remark, I disagree. The man exhibited well-documented unstable behavior (hello? dangling a baby over a balcony?), as well as a penchant for radical surgeries that were deep in the heart of “psychopathology” territory. As for “fandom” being a measure of someone’s contribution to the human race, I would encourage you to please, find a more worthwhile yardstick.

  • The DC teen summer jobs program should consider sending workers along the stretch from Fort Totten to Union Station to remove all the graffiti. It’s an eyesore that is seen by thousands everyday on the Red Line and MARC trains, and makes our city look like it’s under the control of gangsters. The graffiti also made an awful backdrop to our city’s finest firefighters on national TV during the recent metro wreck.

  • Summer Jobber: Or we could just give the summer job kids large nets so the could catch the mural-painting miscreants and stone them to death to satisfy your sense of order. Once they’re all “dealt with” then we can all enjoy the eminently more pleasing vistas of weeds, hobo encampments, boarded up warehouses, rusting bus hulks, and dirt piles. There isn’t anything I hate more than a mural blocking my view of a parking lot.

  • I think we can all agree he was insane… and also supremely talented. A tragic tale, Shakespearean in scope and uniquely American.

  • Can someone please explain to me what differentiates a “graffiti artist” from a “vandal”? (And that’s only semi-rhetorical.) I’ll agree that this is better than a great many of the tags I see on the red line (though not nearly so funny as “Crotch Rot USA” and “Obama Hates Borf” as you near the District line), but the fundamental issue I have is whether the owner of that wall, or whoever is responsible for its maintenance, wants it there. Ultimately, does WMATA, for instance, have to pay to clean that up — I assume something that indirectly would be passed on to every Metro rider in the form of higher fees or lowered service. If not, and if JU is a known entity, can we please find a better outlet for his creativity that doesn’t also add to his criminality? Just because his work looks better than others’ doesn’t make it any less of a trespass.

    Lest we forget, Borf was a local art student, but he made this town look like crap and caused thousands in property damage.

  • I’m a fan of “JU’s” work. This is not one of his best, but his Obama’s pretty sweet:

  • One of my favorite graffitos is also at Brookland and located way down on the southeast wall as you’re rolling out, it’s a simple unfurled scroll that reads: “F*ck the courts, Lanier, and your mom.” Succinct, elegant, and funny.

  • Anon: It’s in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it? I don’t find simple tags very appealing, but there is at least one person out there that does or he/she wouldn’t bother doing it. Regarding the painted walls I’d bet that cleaning up graffiti is the least of the concerns owners of abandoned warehouses and crumbling buildings have. To me, the tons of trash on every street in this city is much more of a “blight” concern than the paint on a few derelict buildings and walls.

  • Nah, Odentex, it’s not. It’s in the eye of the wall’s owner.

  • I think that the threat of nuclear attack from North Korea is much more of a concern than trash in the streets OR graffiti, so clearly, we should ignore both problems. Long Live The Odentex Way: As long as something else worse is going on, fuck everything else!

  • Anon: I’d be interested in just how many tears have been shed from the eye of an abandoned warehouse’s owner due to the terrible indignity of having his derelict rat haven’s wall painted on.

  • Anon: You’re right. This graffiti scourge must be stopped immediately! That corridor from Fort Totten to Union Station was a verdant paradise of chirping songbirds in a lush canopy of virgin wood until JU started painting peons to pedophiles all over the place!

    I say we ban all paint ASAP. We just can’t trust paint retailers to responsibly sell their evil wares only to people who will use paint “properly” (people over 30 who own a minivan).

    The shame!

  • Oh bother … now we’re into the whole “Anon” problem and I don’t have a witty handle AND somebody else already posts on this site using my actual name (which probably is his name, too) …

    Anyway, @11:48 here (not @12:15), and I’d analogize thusly: I’m betting my basement toilet has a pretty disgusting toilet ring right now and can assure you it’s low on my list of things to clean, but that still doesn’t mean I want you dropping a Big Texan deuce in it, or even taking a Lone Star leak, even though I probably wouldn’t check on it for a few weeks to know you hadn’t flushed.

    And without analogizing, I don’t think we develop much of a civic ethos by calling a crime something other than a crime. Just because it’s the current reality doesn’t make it right. The owner’s consent isn’t a subjective determination, and I’m really uncomfortable with the proposed alternative of “eye of the beholder” when it comes to people’s property rights.

  • i can’t think of a city that doesn’t have graffiti art along its rail corridors. london and amsterdam spring to mind.

  • Cool “Disco” Dan

  • Anon @ 1:02: The onwers’ consent is an objective fact. Not every building or wall has graffiti on it along the red line corridor. Why is that? Because in their individual “eyes” it is either objectionable or not. It’s determinable. Also, don’t be so sure it’s always a crime. Some of these are commissioned murals (incl. some of those on the food bank), though clearly JU’s opus to Freaky McDancypants is on Metro property. I’m not saying don’t inforce the laws or don’t let the owners scrub the walls, I’m just saying I appriciate the some of the work.

    May I suggest “DC Aesthete” for your handle?

  • The graffiti along the Red Line north of Union Station is really good. The ratio of skilled and aesthetically pleasing work to tags and assorted crap is very high. I would guess that to some degree it’s good because it doesn’t get painted over very often, so the kids are willing to put more work into it.

    JU also has, if memory serves, a mural with a picture of the Fresh Prince and one with a picture of the Joker.

    I hope no one ever tries to paint over the Sean Taylor mural.

  • O-tex, you get to my fundamental point. Some of this stuff has to be commissioned/approved by the owner, such as the food bank mural. In those cases I get it — brightens up the ride, especially now that it takes 90 min. to get through that section of the red line, and some of it isn’t half bad. But I doubt JU put this one up in the light of day or with WMATA’s prior approval. Apologies to JU if he did. And assuming at some point this one will come Off the Wall [cue rimshot], it’s going to cost somebody. I’d rather it not be me, even indirectly, nor do I think it should be incumbent on a private building owner to make the objective post hoc determination that he doesn’t like it, when the expense of removal is on him and/or the city’s graffiti removal unit, which again comes indirectly out of the taxpayer’s pocket.

    If WMATA controls long spaces of retaining walls and doesn’t mind them being painted with graffiti art (as opposed to vandalized), and if other building owners on the corridor wanted to get involved, I’d be all for some sort of clearinghouse dispensing wall space along the train corridors to local artists for stuff like this mural, possibly through some of the local non-profits that teach the medium, as long as the responsibility for maintaining that space was then transferred to the artist. But frankly, I don’t think it does much good to celebrate the fruits of a criminal act.

    And thanks for the suggestion, but no way I can take that handle. I’d misspell it half the time, and someone probably would think it was effete, which is such a negative thing these days. The “Effete Aesthete”?? I’d be doomed. The meaner kids would just put the graffiti directly on my face.

  • Anon: Look, I don’t Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’, but clearly WMATA has come to the conclusion that they aren’t going to do anything about what is basically Human Nature. While a lot of people clearly think it’s Bad, since there are Black or White cameras everywhere at these Metro stations, we have to assume that they are giving JU One More Chance. JU may be a Smooth Criminal, but this Thriller had to take hours to complete and WMATA had plenty of time to tell him to Beat It and they must’ve decided You Can’t Win.

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