If the City of Los Angeles isn’t going to do something about the Kardashians, Plastic Jesus will.
This week, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti earned kudos for inaugurating a six-month test of new street signs designed to make parking in L.A. slightly less of a living hell. But those chart-style parking guides fail to include one key restriction for navigating the congested thoroughfares of the city: No Kardashian Parking.
Anti-Kardashian zone signs were slyly erected today in seven locations around Los Angeles by Plastic Jesus, the street artist dubbed the “Banksy of L.A.” who made waves with his life-sized, heroin-shooting “Junkie Oscar” and its 2015 companion, an Oscar statuette on all fours snorting cocaine off the red carpet planted blocks from the Dolby Theatre, which hosts the Academy Awards.
“I chose locations which are frequented by celebrities, including Robertson Boulevard near the Ivy restaurant, and an Italian restaurant near Melrose and Robertson called Cecconi’s,” Plastic Jesus explained to The Daily Beast three hours after he’d personally installed them, undetected. “And I had to put one outside the Kardashians’s store on Melrose, as well.”
The outspoken but secretive artist, who’s based in downtown L.A., managed to evade attracting attention while placing his signs—even in front of DASH, the clothing boutique owned by Kourtney, Kim, and Khloé Kardashian.
“I kind of looked official—I put a few cans out and wore a high-visibility vest, so they may have thought I was just a city official amending the street signs,” he said.
According to Plastic Jesus, the signs are as much a critique of reality TV’s most famous family as they are an indictment of the city for enabling the seedier side of celebrity culture to run rampant with paparazzi who swarm sidewalks and public places in hot pursuit of tabloid snaps.
“It comes from witnessing the Kardashians being out around Hollywood and the whole entourage of paparazzi—10, 20 photographers—who bring a location to a standstill. I’ve seen it myself and I wondered, ‘How has a family going shopping or going to lunch become a news event?’”
Hungry, out of hand paparazzi have created dangerous situations for decades for everyone from Justin Bieber to Princess Di. But the Kardashian clan, famous for being famous, has a more complicated symbiotic relationship with photogs than most celebrities. “A paparazzi almost crashed into my car today! I am still shaking! He put me in such danger!” a pregnant Kim Kardashian tweeted in 2013, slamming the pursuit as a form of “legalized stalking.” The same year, her husband, Kanye West was sued for battery after tussling with a photographer outside of LAX. And this February when Bruce Jenner crashed on the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, California, early reports sympathetically whispered that he might have been hounded by the paparazzi before the fatal four-car pileup.
“It’s that whole congestion,” Plastic Jesus said. “If you or I went out in the streets and placed a piece of art, the police would pretty quickly move us on. But you assume a certain level of celebrity in this town and it is accepted as part of the culture—and part of the spectacle—of the city.”