(The Washington Post)
Everyone knew his name.
For years, an underground icon who went by Cool “Disco” Dan scrawled his moniker in nearly every corner of the nation’s capital — Metro cars, back alleys, the roofs of buildings. His spray-painted tag was ubiquitous in the 1980s and ’90s, and his legend towered over a grittier Washington.
But next month, a little more than year after his death, Cool “Disco” Dan’s work will get displayed in one place the graffiti artist probably never would have expected: an art exhibit at the Wilson Building, the District’s city hall.
“It is an episode of law breaking that will be displayed in a place of lawmaking,” said Josh Gibson, the D.C. Council’s director of communications.
It’s “complicated,” Gibson conceded — and is, perhaps, made more so by the timing of the announcement, which came two days after the D.C. Department of Public Works publicized the results of the mayor’s “Great Graffiti Wipeout,” an eight-week blitz aimed at “aggressively eradicating graffiti.”
The department dispatched clean-up crews to all eight wards and erased 902 graffiti markings, adding to a total of over 5,000 removed this fiscal year. The department budgeted about $837,000 for the year’s effort.
Had “Disco” Dan still been alive and writing, it’s likely his name would have been among the thousands erased. Instead, it’ll be displayed, as he drew it — on plywood and rusty metal — in the halls home to the highest local government officials.
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