Date: Wed, 3 Apr 1996 15:20:46 PST
From: Cfirstname.lastname@example.org (UPI)
Subject: Dennis the menace to come down
Organization: Copyright 1996 by United Press International
CHICAGO, April 3 (UPI) -- A 37-foot tall portrait of Chicago Bulls
forward Dennis Rodman that has caused massive traffic jams and some
accidents on a busy Chicago expressway will be painted over, the sign's
owner said Wednesday.
The striking black-and-white painting of the controversial Rodman
went up two weeks ago on the wall of a building owned by clothier Bigsby
& Kruthers, which has established a tradition in recent years of
painting huge murals of celebrated Chicagoans wearing the company's
Two of the building's walls are visible from nearby expressways.
Previous portraits of such Chicago heroes as Michael Jordan, Ryne
Sandberg and even actor Dennis Franz, however, haven't caused the kind
of stir that Rodman's portrait has.
Illinois Department of Transportation officials said the sign has
added 30 to 40 minutes to the downtown drive on the Kennedy Expressway
and contributed to several rear-end collisions in the two weeks since it
was erected. Workmen have seen motorists pull off the highway to snap
pictures of the Chicago Bull, clad in a sleeveless suit that highlights
his heavily tattooed arms.
Even though the delays were easing a bit, Bigsby & Kruthers CEO Gene
Silverberg said Wednesday that the company has decided to remove Rodman
from the highly visible north wall of the building and repaint his image
on the south wall, which is not so close to the busy expressway.
Silverberg said Rodman was ``disappointed'' with the decision, but is
accepting it. ``If it's safety versus art, we both believe it's going to
have to be safety,'' he said. ``So please resume normal speeds and drive
The hoopla surrounding the painting was intensified because it
appeared during a time when the flamboyant NBA star was serving a highly
publicized six-game suspension for head-butting a referee. Silverberg
said the coincidence resulted in an interest level nobody had expected.
``The calls we were getting were 3-to-1 in favor of keeping Dennis on
the wall,'' he said. ``Some of the callers were very adamant that he not
be taken down. In my wildest dreams I never thought this would happen.''
Painters will remove Rodman's image on Monday.
Bigsby & Kruthers had planned to change the mural's hair color
whenever Rodman -- who is now a redhead -- got a new dye job. Rodman
returned to the Bulls Tuesday after serving his suspension.
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