The Controversial Dewey Square Mural Is Coming Down

Officials say a new painting will grace the wall starting in the fall.

By | Boston Daily |
Photo via blogspot.com

Photo via blogspot.com

The giant mural in Dewey Square that caused controversy and racially charged commentary is coming down.

The colorful artwork, painted on the utility building housed above the Interstate 93 tunnel by Brazilian brothers Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo, who go by “Os Gemeos,” will be replaced by a new mural beginning in the fall.

The mural, which went up in July 2012, is withering and fading, and officials have decided it’s time for something new, according to Charlie McCabe, director of public programs for the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, the non-profit entity tasked with providing public artwork along the strip of grass that runs through Causeway Street. “We are looking to either remove it or replace it sometime in the fall,” says McCabe. “We are hoping to announce what the new project on the structure will be by August.”

The structure, a 70-foot-by-70-foot Air Intake building located between Summer and Congress Streets, was transformed into a painting for the first time last summer. McCabe says every piece of art—from sculptures, to paintings along the Greenway—has an 18-month shelf life. Because this particular mural is beginning to show signs of deterioration, replacing it sooner than the designated timeframe felt like a smart move.

McCabe says the Conservancy is working with the Institute of Contemporary Art to find a suitable mural to go up in place of the “Giant of Boston,” but no artists have been selected at this time. The ICA was responsible for helping bring the “Os Gemeos” brothers to Boston last year to create the multi-colored figure that is currently on the side of the building, facing South Station.

The mural sparked some outrage in the community and created a lot of public discourse, some of which lead to racially charged commentary and opinionated thoughts about what the figure actually was. The comments first surfaced on Fox 25’s Facebook page, and later garnered national attention.

The artists claimed the mural is of a young boy in his pajamas, with clothing wrapped around his head, but spectators went as far as saying the mural looked like a “terrorist” and “towel head.”

McCabe would not say what the next painting would be, or who would do it, but hinted that an announcement would be made later this summer after they submit a permit and proposal to reuse the space with Boston’s Art Council. “No [artists have] approached us directly, but through our partnership with the ICA, they are continuing to bring new and different artists to Boston and they have come up with some possibilities,” he says. “We view it as a great and very visible canvas, and I think everyone has gotten used to having something there.”

  • Guy Citizen

    One request here for an eagle with a gun in one talon and a cross in the other wearing a “These colors don’t run” hat. You know, to even things out for Boston’s scummiest citizens who complained about the last one.

    • neuroboy

      definitely an eagle crying

      • Grant

        wearing a red sox jersey

    • ocschwar

      How about something from the Onion’s cartoonist?

  • PK Kruzel

    “The mural, which went up in July 2012, is withering and fading, and officials have decided it’s time for something new…”

    Bulllllllllllshit. It’s in great shape – and Boston’s let shittier murals stay up longer.

    • deslok

      Who

  • Joyce C. Saunders

    I suggest the committee contact the artist Steve Knapp who does truly spectacular “Light Painting” murals. He has been commmissioned for many and has had shows/exhubits all over the world. Plus, he is based just outside of Worcester. Google “Stephen Knapp Light Paintings” . He has created an original art medium and it is truly fabulous!

  • hu_wen

    On the one hand, there should be no pandering to racist jingoists.

    On the other hand, the mural is ugly.

  • Butch Goodwin

    It should be a local artist. Why should we support and display on a public building annd space a OUT OF TOWNER

  • LuckyMonkey

    “The non-profit entity tasked with providing public artwork along the strip of grass that runs through Causeway Street”

    Causeway St? I’m pretty sure if anything that Mural is on the opposite side of town as Causeway St. Pretty sure that’s Summer St Bro…

  • fuxxnuzz

    “The mural sparked some outrage in the community and created a lot of public discourse” … bullshit! FOX sparked the outrage by asking their viewers if they thought it was offensive!

  • Terrence1

    Boston is so provincial it hurts.

  • jespasinthru

    Never mind the political implications. That thing is ugly, simplistic and cartoonish. An assault on the eyes.