CHICAGO

Daley: Destroyed Mural 'A Mistake,' But 'Not That Serious'

06/20/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

An alderman's order to have city graffiti crews paint over a provocative but legal Bridgeport mural Friday was a mistake, Mayor Daley acknowledged this week.

Yet despite admitting the "mistake" (ten times, according to Chicago Public Radio's count), Daley insisted that it ranked pretty low on his pressing issues scale.

"It was a mistake," the Sun-Times quoted Daley as saying. "It's not that serious. Let's slow down. No one was killed."

Last week, Ald. James Balcer (11th) ordered the city's graffiti blasters to paint over the mural by Chicago artist Gabriel Villa. The mural, which was commissioned and appeared on a private property, featured three Chicago Police Department surveillance cameras and images of a deer head, a human skull and a crucified Christ. Villa said the mural was not intended to offend law enforcement, but Balcer considered it a potential threat and had it destroyed without the permission of the building owner.

"Balcer said the mural could have created a "gang problem," although he couldn't point to anything specifically that suggested the mural featured gang themes," the Sun-Times' Fran Spielman reported.

"I can't answer that," he said. "I don't know what all the gang affiliations are."

Villa said he is considering legal action against the city.

Watch
footage of the mural being painted over and an interview with Villa.

Listen
to a discussion on censorship and public art on WBEZ's Eight Forty-Eight.

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