The Rainbow Swash

1971: Boston Gas commissioned artist Corita Kent to decorate a gas tank next to the I-93 in South Boston. Her design featured a series of rainbow-colored stripes. But once her artwork was done, people began to claim that they could see the bearded silhouette of Ho Chi Minh in the blue stripe. The suspicion was that Kent, being an anti-war activist, had purposefully put it there. Kent always denied this.

More info: The Boxer Boston

The colorful tank was the idea of the colorful chief executive of the Boston Gas Company, Eli Goldston. He commissioned Corita Kent, the widely known pioneer in pop art silk-screen prints and art education, who some years ago left her convent and the Immaculate Heart College in Los Angeles and now works in Boston. Her signature, "Corita," printed in letters 5½ feet high, appears almost small on that huge alfresco painting that consumed 555 gallons of paint and the labors of four painters working nearly six weeks.

Now here, brightening drab and messy industrial surroundings, is something we would call "magnificent and fitting." But some people, alas, were upset. In Corita's free-flowing brush strokes, they professed to detect the profile of Ho Chi Minh. The mayor of Quincy, Mass., in fact, declined an invitation to attend the dedication of the rainbow colored gas tank on the grounds that he did not want to pay "homage of any nature to a communist."

Corita just laughed. "Some people see faces in the clouds," she said.
The Montgomery Advertiser - Feb 3, 1973
     Posted By: Alex - Thu Oct 01, 2020
     Category: Art | Delusions, Fantasies and Other Tricks of the Imagination | 1970s

A psychiatrist could have a field day taking a patient out to gaze at the tank.
Posted by KDP on 10/01/20 at 09:58 AM
Looks like Africa with Namibia taken out to me. Armchair politico-shrinks, have a field day with that.
Posted by Richard Bos on 10/03/20 at 08:46 AM
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