Photograph by Darrow Montgomery
May the era of punchline agitprop (Banksy) and self-seriously topical street art (Milbanksy) end soon. But I can’t help but chuckle every time I pass by the work of illegal art peeking out from an alley off of F Street NW between 10th and 11th Streets: a stenciled depiction of late Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddaffi, standing in a sub-martial pose and carrying a sign that reads “LEEZA.” (Step out of the H&M, consumerist hordes, and you can’t miss it.) The work is signed “CRO,” a street artist who’s mounted a similar Gaddaffi stencil work in his hometown of Chicago (that one reads “Out of work dictator”) and, somewhat more gratingly, a graffiti image of Herman Cain, naked save for a fedora and pizza box. The Gaddaffi piece works because of the endearingly bizarre news-cycle footnote it references: The Libyan leader apparently had a crush on former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, whom he once presented with a scrapbook and a chamber work, “Black Flower in the White House,” penned by a Libyan composer. Confidential to CRO: Have you considered turning your stencils to Marion Barry?