Well, That Was Quick! Rome’s “Decorum Squad” Scrapes Off the Super Pope

Well, That Was Quick! Rome’s “Decorum Squad” Scrapes Off the Super Pope January 30, 2014

Before and After shots, showing the Super Pope graffiti, and the scraped and repainted wall

The Super Pope is gone!

Apparently, the Vatican liked it (since the Pontifical Council for Social Communications tweeted the photo out to the world).  And the media liked it.  And the people liked it.

But the folks who are responsible for keeping Rome’s walls and walkways in tip-top shape:  Not so much.

Catholic News Service reports that in the middle of the night, Rome’s “decorum squad”–which is responsible for cleaning the city and removing urban artworks–scraped off and painted over the “Super Pope” street art.

I’m feeling a bit frustrated about that.  See, it’s typical for such displays of urban art to remain on walls and buildings for years.  But the Super Pope?  Well, it only went up on Monday, so it didn’t last even three full days.

Graffiti on the same wall as the “Super Pope” was not removed

In fact, Carol Glatz of CNS describes the street tagging which remains, not just all over the city, but right there, all over the wall and environs where Super Pope once flew.

Artist Mauro Pallotta knew it was coming.  He said, in an interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa, that he’d seen the “decorum squad” lurking on the street–but that the press of enthusiastic viewers had kept them away.  Only under cover of dark were they able to remove the work.

Pallotta explained why he had chosen to paint the Holy Father as a cartoon hero.  He had been watching TV, he said, when a story about the Pope came on–and the idea just clicked.  He explained,

“The superpowers which I gave him represent the enormous power at his disposal, which he uses — the only world leader — to do good. He’s the only one who does what he says.”

Pallotta takes care not to damage the areas where his paintings are displayed.  He draws and paints his “ecological” and removable street art onto paper, then glues the drawing onto walls in his neighborhood around the Borgo Pio with a water-based adhesive.

Perhaps the Super Pope–like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in The Terminator–will be back.

Oh–and my earlier post (just yesterday) about the Super Pope and the artist who envisioned it can be found here.


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