Ron English and Electric Windows

The Electric Windows Project in Beacon was a great success this year, getting out some great art and bringing together Brooklyn hipsters and longtime Beacon residents…

But by Tuesday, dozens of outraged townies assembled at the Beacon city planning board meeting to protest a couple of pieces I did. After a quick briefing in closed session with the city attorney, who went over the first amendment with planning board members, the board announced that although it had no legal right to order the work taken down, it would allow the public to express their outrage over the fact that I used Jesus as a corporate spokesmodel and “Crack” as a criticism of fast food in a couple of “subvertisements.”

The board let me speak first, and I expressed surprise that my work created such a furor. I’m always surprised when this kind of thing happens… which is often and usually propagated by people who don’t understand or fully take in the work but instead attach their own agenda to it.

After I spoke, a wave of angry Christians took their turns at the mike. One woman wanted to know why she couldn’t paste up the photos of dead fetuses that she routinely held up at the health clinic. Others wanted to know what gave me the right to comment on the most powerful religion on the planet. And one board member expressed outraged that I was promoting crack… to the children. Afterwards, a teacher got up to helpfully explain that children don’t understand metaphor.

Then a self-professed stateside noncombat post traumatic stress-afflicted veteran informed me that he had notified Miller High Life about my offensive parody of their brand.

So the next day I replaced the offending ads with these…

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