Somebody vandalized Axl Rose's garage door more than 20 years ago and a photographer snapped a picture of it. Now the Guns N' Roses singer is very angry.
Los Angeles-based photographer Laura London recently launched her newest exhibit, "Once Upon a Time ... Axl Rose Was My Neighbor," at the Coagula Curatorial gallery in downtown L.A. The exhibit features photographs London took while she was living down the street from Rose, as well as portraits of other people dressed in Axl Rose-ish fashion and recreations of old Guns N' Roses band photos.
Only one of the pieces in the show actually seemed to ruffle Rose's feathers. It shows "Sweet Child O' Die you R 1 of many nothing special" spray-painted on what London said was Rose's garage door.
On Wednesday, Rose's attorney sent a cease and desist letter to Mat Gleason, the owner of Coagula Curatorial with the subject line, "Re: Defamation of Axl Rose." The letter, first reported by TMZ, questioned the original explanation London provided on the gallery's website for the graffiti image.
London's explanation of the image:
"Axl Rose was having a fight with his wife at the time, Erin Everly, and spray-painted graffiti of lyrics of one of his most popular songs ‘Sweet Child 0’ Mine,’ twisted into sick poetry and instead wrote ‘Sweet Child 0’ Die you R 1 of many nothing special.’ I looked at the graffiti and shot a roll of film to document it, even though it is not my usual style of image making. It was just too weird to pass up.”
The attorney, A. Sasha Frid, called those statements "absolutely outrageous, false, fabricated, and highly defamatory" and wrote that they were "designed to garner attention and line your pockets with money" (referring to Gleason.) He also demanded Gleason "cancel all performances" of London's show.
According to Gleason, an art critic who also blogs for this website, no shows will be canceled.
"The exhibit started last Monday and it's not changing one iota," he told The Huffington Post.
Gleason said the gallery complied with the letter's requests to the best of its abilities without altering anything the artist intended. The gallery's website has removed London's previous explanation of the photograph in question, and the description of the exhibit has also been changed. Now London is quoted as saying her work "comes from a combination of personal experience, memory, observation and imagination."
She calls the exhibit a "docudrama based on an interpretation and depiction of actual events.”
Gleason said his only worry, at this point, is that there may not be enough editions of the artwork to go around, as the exhibit has garnered a lot of attention. According to the gallery's price list for the exhibit, the photo in question is still for sale, priced at $24,000.