The Daily News reports that 52 out of 86 of the four-by-five-feet portraits in the Neighbors exhibit along East Houston Street have been tagged in recent weeks.
Neighbors features Americans representing all 50 states taken by photographer John Raymond Mireles ... the portraits went up on April 28 from First Avenue to Second Avenue at First Street Green Art Park.
"I expected some vandalism though admittedly not on this scale," Mireles told the Daily News. He admitted that his "heart sinks" from the tagging.
"It’s not what I hoped for, but it’s part of this artistic experiment.
"I could have done this show in a gallery,” he added. "Being outside, the exhibit invites and allows engagement. As an artist, my goal is to provoke thought and jump-start conversations that lead to action. That my artwork is altered in service of stimulating dialogue is a small price to pay."
And of the 52 tagged portraits, only one of them features a red penis...