Barry has been an outspoken critic of the project, calling it "tasteless work" and a “‘so called’ despicable art work” in a letter, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, to Michael Kelly, director of the Department of Housing and Community Development, which controls the vacant properties in which the art is displayed. Barry stated that the "disaster ... could have been avoided if I were consulted," and essentially granted himself veto power over any projects in his ward, writing, "Any and all projects that are under consideration in Ward 8 must come through my office for advisement, consultation and/or approval."
When he couldn't get his way with DHCD or the arts commission, Barry took "more drastic measures to have this unsavory work removed," he writes in a press release today, instructing his chief of staff to contact FEMS to determine whether it might be a fire hazard. Now he's taking his victory lap. (An FEMS spokesman did not know whether the agency began the investigation at Barry's request.)