Cover Wars: Whose Artfag Kung-Fu Is Stronger?


Back when we were starting a band, the guitar player wanted to call it One Percent Off. Walking through the produce aisle of the grocery store one day, he said, he saw a sticker on some arugula that said 1% Off and it struck him as a eureka moment. “The whole goddamn world is one percent off!” he said. Unfortunately we went with The Floating Doo Doo Balls instead, which in part explains why you never heard of us. But the good news is that boy finally got the help he so obviously needed. We bring this up because it’s puts our finger on the hard-to-pin down problem with this week’s PW cover. It’s just one percent off. You got Chaka with His head in the clouds, a somewhat ham-fistedly literal visual representation of Kia Gregory‘s no-kid-gloves-yet-still-soft-focus profile of the mayoral candidate: a big-picture thinker who once stood in the gutter and dared to look up at the stars, who pulled himself up from the bottom by his bootstraps until his head was in the clouds. It’s a pretty incredible journey from gangland peace maker to U.S. Congressman. And for the record, we think his emphasis on education and opportunity — on “building people,” as he calls it — is, in the long run, the answer to our murder problem. And though this is not a formal endorsement, we think Chaka Fattah is a viable choice for mayor. But we seriously wonder if he has the charisma to out-charm The Machine, which has chosen another candidate to pull The Big Lever for. But getting back to the cover, maybe it’s that piece of sushi laying there like a piece of JFK’s brain after a Dealey Plaza driveby, or maybe the whole thing is just lacks the harrowing urgency of CP’s cover. To wit:

In March 2006, the [local artist Daniel Heyman] traveled to Amman, Jordan, with reps from Philadelphia law firm Burke Pyle LLC and met face to face with the Iraqis whom most Americans had seen only in those grainy, horrifying photos. He followed up the visit with an August trip to Istanbul, Turkey. What emerged: bleak, almost voyeuristic portraits, glimpses into lives irrevocably shattered by the very forces sent to protect them. More strikingly, Heyman surrounded each subject’s face with textual excerpts from his or her stories — damning evidence that has only now begun to surface. He’s compiled the art — a series of stark prints and watercolors — for “The Abu Ghraib Project,” a solo show that opened last week at The Print Center.

Winner: CP

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