Fred Radtke Spoof

July 2, 2005

Dating back to 2003 – This is the funniest in a long series of responses to Fred Radtke, N.O.’s phenomenal graffiti abatement “Gray Ghost”.
Without permission or funding Fred has crushed the spirit of a whole generation of would be vandals and artists, rendering the city stranger than before, covered top to bottom in in his signature style.

He hits roof tops, windows, street signs, lost dog posters and community bulletin boards- he once tried to destroy a sanctioned graffiti mural in progress at the Contemporary Arts Center. He operates his own hotline and carries a gun. Despite the wrath you’d expect from anti-social vandals that war on each other (they once painted his entire car gray, windows- everything), I think even his opponents have/hide admiration for someone so brazen, outlaw, eccentric, and successful.

For the thinking man like my friend Joel, there’s compositional qualities reminiscent of Artist Nicolas de Stael to be appreciated.*

Nicolas de Stael, 1950

Fred Radtke (Gray Ghost), 2003

Whoever spoofed Fred’s work in color, made the same considerations while making a legal mess.

Unknown Artist, 2003

And how good is gray for yellow when the building is red?! Hilarious. I thought this might stump Fred’s logic, but he buffed it all gray anyway!

So he has no sense of humor, but the idea lives on, I have these pictures, people still see Fred’s work as street art.

*I just read a description of “The Subconscious Art of Graffiti Removal”
by Matt McCormick; a short documentary send-up that looks at abatement work done in Portland as an art movement. Sounds great. I’d also heard of a Radtke equivalent character, in Portland again strangely- who wouldn’t buff things entirely – just create an exclamation point with his roller- a sort of psy-ops humiliation mixed up legally. (cc) by nc nd 2017 MOMO