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Officials in Toronto have painted over a mural that was apparently believed to resemble Stephen Harper.

A city spokeswoman says the railway underpass wall was returned to drab grey because Richardson’s artwork was unauthorized, uncommissioned, political and may have “referred to (Prime Minister) Stephen Harper.”

Richardson says in 2008 then-Davenport councillor Adam Giambrone’s office asked him to paint a mural on the north wall of the underpass west of Lansdowne Ave., on the funky Junction Triangle neighbourhood’s eastern edge … Richardson says the mural “had nothing to do with Stephen Harper” — while it is “subversive and anti-freewheeling capitalism” — and his friend Benjamin Blais was the model for the businessman.


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  1. How positively Stalinesque.  Why should the city of Toronto staffers care if some of the art they commissioned shows Harper in an unflattering light?  Especially since it wasn’t even Harper, but just a case of projection.

  2. TorStar – “Artist Joel Richardson says the city has painted over a popular …. The colourful scene of faceless men in suits, dollar signs and hearts, funded mostly through donations from local businesses, proved popular enough, he says, that Giambrone’s staff asked him to paint another mural ….. Richardson says the mural “had nothing to do with Stephen Harper” — while it is “subversive and anti-freewheeling capitalism” …. ”

    1) What freewheeling capitalism is Richardson afraid of, exactly? In Canada, free market was eliminated long time ago in favour of command and control by government. 

    2) Who does Richardson think paid for his murals and are they capitalists? Is capitalism ok with Richardson because it pays for him to paint inane murals but unacceptable for everyone else because it is evil? 

    3) Why can’t left wing types make statement without denigrating others? 

    Faceless men in suits pretty much make sure Canada runs like it does because they go to work everyday, pay taxes without too much complaint, and then get pleasure of artist – who is dependent on faceless man’s labour -painting murals that are ‘subversive and anti-freewheeling capitalism’. 

    4) What message does Richardson/Giambrone think mural is sending to others?

    ‘Hey kids, don’t be foolish and go to work everyday. Live off public teat, other people’s labour, like us and don’t be a suit!” – Is that really the best message the Government could promote?

    •  Ahh yes, those brave and noble banksters at Goldman Sachs and execs at GM and so on who make fantastic bonuses for ruining companies while millions lose their jobs. 

    • Answers
      1. Are derivatives regulated in Canada? Do they cause bank collapses and recessions when they are created and traded without oversight? I’d call that freewheeling capitalism – since it especially has absolutely nothing to do with creating anything – and I’m afraid of it. Perhaps if you stopped reading opinions written by people who are still living in the 50’s and 60’s, whose ideas about what exactly a capitalist/corporatist society looks like are based on caricature, you might start to see what is around you.2. Your questions in point 2 are rhetorical to be sure (some would say tautological), but put together amount to nothing more than non sequiturs. (To be specific: if capitalism doesn’t exist in Canada [point 1] then capitalists don’t either.) 3. You’re absolutely right: I’ve never read anyone espousing right wing philosophies – or something akin to them – ever say anything remotely disparaging about anyone else. Only “left wing” people do that. Oh, by the way, you’ve just denigrated “left wing” people. 4. I dislike overtly message-oriented art and mostly because it’s easy and leads to programmatic thinking. Your response to the mural proves my point: your comments are a product not of thought and reason, but of belief, slogans and strangely cut-and-dried generalizations.   

  3. A mural depicting “faceless men in suits, dollar signs and hearts”, is “apparently believed to resemble” Stephen Harper?