This is True®

by Randy Cassingham

Stories from Our Archives ©1994-2017

Yes, But Is it Art?
Commuters stuck in traffic on a Los Angeles, Calif., freeway saw something unusual when they passed the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels: a gigantic advertisement projected on the steeple. “Your Ad Here” alternated with “Your Corporate Logo Here”. Officials at the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles were as perplexed as motorists, since they didn’t authorize the advertisement. “A church tower is different from a billboard,” said an archdiocese spokesman. “If it wasn’t, we would have been selling ad space 2,000 years ago.” Rather, it was a piece of performance art by 28-year-old graphic artist James Cui. While the church was reasonably amused, bureaucrats weren’t. “What he put up is the equivalent to an advertising sign and not a work of art,” said city code enforcement head Dave Keim, noting illegal ad signs are punishable as a misdemeanor with fines up to $1,000 and six months in jail. “To us, anything that attracts the attention of the public is a ‘sign’ and you need a permit.” (Los Angeles Times) ...Something the Catholics will have to remember next time they plead, “Lord! Give us a ‘sign’!”
Available in This is True: Book Collection Vol. 13

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