A billboard placed in Houston’s Dupree Park in the Third Ward has provoked a counter-billboard. The original billboard promotes the Menil Collection’s current exhibition Nice. Luc Tuymans, with one of Tuymans’ portraits and the word “NICE.” A large sign has appeared nearby, which mimics the advertisement’s layout; it presents a close-up picture of rapper/poet Tupac Shakur and the word “NICEST.”
In a press release of sorts emailed to Glasstire, artist Phillip Alan Pyle II questions the placement: ”The issue before us is why did the Menil choose Dupree Park to advertise this exhibition? This is not to say that neighbors here have no interest in art, but the ad is vague, and does little to educate the community on who or what the ad is about.”
Pyle’s nearby Beauty Box (created with fellow artist Robert Hodge) has received much attention for its utility, relevance, and respect for the neighborhood and its history. While Pyle’s questioning of the billboard’s relevancy to the neighborhood’s residents may well be valid, he also comments on Tuymans’ Belgian nationality: “Didn’t the Belgians under King Leopold kill like 10 million Africans in the late nineteenth century?”
Pyle also adds, “At the moment there has been no one to claim responsibility for the “NICEST” billboard, but rumors are that the art collective Everything Records may have been involved.” Pyle is listed as president and CEO of Everything Records.