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NYPD Yellow

Cops cruise Soho in fake taxi, bust Brazilian artists.

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Their pieces may sell for $18,000 at Jeffrey Deitch’s gallery, but when the two identical-twin Brazilian graffiti artists known as Os Gemeos (“The Twins” in Portuguese) were asked to spray-paint the exterior of Deitch’s Grand Street space a few nights before their opening, an undercover NYPD unit was far less appreciative. A “vandal-squad duo who drive around in a fake yellow cab tried to arrest them,” says a snickering Deitch, who calls the work of Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo, 30, “a fusion of vernacular folk art and international pop.” Via e-mail, the brothers added their [sic]-laden version of events: “We have permition to paint there, and we have only the late of night to do, and some cops, andercover (by taxy) stop us . . . its fany they are against graffiti and the same time they elect a Bush president again . . . funy!” “It’s a warped subculture,” responds Lieutenant Steve Mona, who heads up the new Citywide Vandals Task Force and has little patience with the term “graffiti artist.” The twins talked their way out of an arrest. But the police must have the gallery on permanent stakeout. Two days later, local tagger “KR” was arrested for marking up a pole outside.


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