Date: Wed, 3 Apr 1996 15:20:46 PST
From: (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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