I don’t know the title or the artist, but this is a new mural on the side of the Hustler store on 7th St. in downtown Cincinnati. “Mudflap girls” sums up the subject pretty well, right?
It’s such a simple mural, painted with rudimentary skill, and yet I don’t really understand it. Why only women? Why two? To me, this seems like a really generic and obvious representation of “sexy” as a large-scale ad for the store masquerading as a piece of public art. Is there a message? Is there a take-away other than pimping the store?
Given Hustler founder Larry Flynt‘s roots in this area, the mural could serve to communicate a bit of history, or to share a sex-positive message. Instead, the public is treated to a trite, passably painted cliché.
Just down the street, artist Scott Donaldson has been working with teens on a new ArtWorks mural that is already almost finished. Given Donaldson’s witty, informed prior public art projects — murals in Over-the-Rhine and Camp Washington — I wish that this wall and this subject had been given to him, because I know that he could find a way to cleverly and appropriately represent the story and mission of Hustler.
Hustler, you missed an opportunity to communicate with and possibly educate your public. Instead, you used this large-scale canvas to reinforce the uninformed stereotypes that people surely already have about you. Your mural joins billboards in my mind as the colossal visual pollution I have to ignore in my daily life. Eww…