Another Huge Mural on Cherokee, But This Time, No Backlash

Categories: Arts, Community
Over the weekend, Chicago-based artist Ruben Aguirre completed the second half of this huge mural at Cherokee Street and Texas Avenue

Photo by Nicholas Phillips
Ruben Aguirre's mural at Cherokee and Texas

Like the El Leñador mural eight blocks to the west, this one has gone up with the building owner's permission, and was facilitated by Jenn Carter and Bryan Walsh of Aisle 1 Gallery -- only this time without controversy, those two say. Daily RFT asked why. 

"Why is this art, but [El Lenador] is graffiti?" asks Carter rhetorically. "The lines are very blurry." 

In a sense, Aguirre's mural is evidence of how far the neighborhood has come. After all, this is the exact same wall where a local artist put up a mural back in 2006, only to be dramatically torn down during a rainstorm by Shirley Wallace, a local business owner and then-vice president of the Cherokee Station Business Association (see our coverage here). 

As for Aguirre's mural, he started it back in November. Walsh says he came back to St. Louis over the weekend for his gallery showing at Aisle 1, which will run into August. When the artist returns next month to retrieve his unsold work, he'll put the finishing touches on the mural -- a piece that Walsh says he's doing simply "for the love."  

"For people in the neighborhood and people driving by, it provides a sense of place," says Walsh. "It's no longer just 'the National Rent-to-Own building.' Now it's 'the empty lot with the mural.'" 

Of course, the more murals that pop up on Cherokee, the more specific you'll have to be about that.  

Here's a time-lapse video of Aguirre doing the first half of his piece: 

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My Voice Nation Help

Permission and content are two different criteria independent of each other. Your argument  reminds me of how British councils put plexiglass over Banksy stencils and buff the tags on the same wall next to him, and is void of recognizing the subjective nature of art. Throughout history new movements like Impressionism and Abstract Expressionism caught flak from more traditional minded persons and that's all that you're doing. I'll let you get back to whining about El Lenador even though it has nothing to do with this article.

Nick Phillips
Nick Phillips

Sorry, I.B. Bangin, but I have no idea what you're talking about. Please contact me at nickp at riverfronttimes dot com. I'd like to know more. 

I.B. Bangin
I.B. Bangin

"Why" you ask Carter?  Why ask when the RFT knows the answer...and has been nothing but dishonest and completely left key details out of their original reporting of this story.  Shame on you RFT for continuing to omit key details of this story.   What the RFT hasn't told people is that the original mural derided by many as graffiti was painted with El Lenador’s permission but conveniently “drifted” onto public and private property not owned by El Lenador and without the consent of secondary property owners or the City.  I think if you ask any real artist they will tell you that you either have to own the medium or have the permission of the owner for it to be called art.  No reasonable person would object to this so long as the property owners were consented, but that is not 100% what happened at El Lenador.   That Mr. Carter is the difference between graffiti/vandalism and art.  Try and twist it as many ways as you want, these people need to have more respect for property owners on Cherokee.

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