Artist hangs banker, lassoes media with one knot

By | November 10th, 2011 | 1 Comment
Above's Hanging Banker

Above's 'Hanging Banker' has earned the anonymous artist admiration and contempt in equal measure. -- photo by Chris Davidson

This post was produced by Open Media Miami, an independent company that works in partnership with Beached Miami to cover neighborhood news along the Biscayne Corridor.

The words, painted in bright colors, stretch 255 feet across a concrete wall on N.W. Sixth Avenue in Wynwood: “Give a Wall St banker enough rope and he will hang himself.” At the south end of the mural, which faces the I-95 expressway, a suit-and-tie-clad effigy holding a money-stuffed briefcase and wearing a canvas bag over its head dangles from telephone wires, suspended for Miami commuters to see with a noose wrapped around its neck.

Since its installation on October 25, the so-called “hanging banker” has been the focus of local, national, and foreign media. The New Times lauded it as one of the best artworks inspired by the Occupy Wall Street protests. Right-wing blogs such as Human Events took it as disturbing proof of the movement’s animosity toward American capitalism. The Daily Mail asked if the dangling mannequin crossed the line. Fox News called it “sick.”

The street artist behind the spectacle, Above, says he’s ecstatic that his piece created such a stir in the media.

“I like it. I love it. I think it’s great,” says Above. “I wasn’t expecting Fox to cover it like that, but I actually really enjoy that.”

Above says the “hanging banker” is his response to Occupy Wall Street, though he does not claim affiliation with the movement. He painted the mural, a twist on “Give a fool enough rope and he will hang himself,” to voice his opinion about the global financial system, which, like many around the country, he views as corrupt.

“It’s pretty gross, to be honest,” he says. “[T]he world’s gotten so out of control.”

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