Best use of faux religious iconography

The “Pray 4 Rose” mural and shrine

In early March, shortly after Derrick Rose suffered his umpteenth knee injury, a cartoon likeness of the Bulls point guard appeared beneath the Kennedy Expressway overpass on Fullerton Avenue—the same place where ten years earlier the religious convened in droves to admire a splotch of salt runoff that some thought resembled the Virgin Mary. The Rose image, complete with a crown of thorns and a “Pray 4 Rose” banner, was made by human hands—specifically those of local artists Brendan Carroll (aka “Joking Noah”) and David Beltran (aka “Bae Cutler,” who also produces ecstatic electronic tracks as Starfoxxx). The mural worked well as equal parts tongue-in-cheek street art and earnest homage to the passion play that is Chicago sports. In fact, it worked so well that Carroll and Beltran attracted a slew of national press coverage and Bulls believers. The mural was eventually defaced, but the artists quickly fixed it, and visitors adorned the shrine with candles, roses (naturally), and what appeared to be a framed Sharkula drawing. Shortly after the Bulls were eliminated from the playoffs, another tribute featuring Rose’s face appeared in Wicker Park’s six corners, this one memorializing the team’s season—it vanished just as quickly as it appeared.