Local artist curates exhibit while facing charge

An artist who’s curating an exhibit designed to addresshomophobic bullying is facing accusations of vandalism and threatening a BayArea Reporter staffer.

Jeremy Novy, a.k.a. Jeremy Wendtz, is perhaps best knownfor his stenciled colorful sidewalk koi fish. Recently, he’s assembled theshow, titled, “A History of Queer Street Art,” for the 14th annualNational Queer Arts Festival. The Queer Cultural Center is presenting thefestival.

The center’s website says the street art exhibit, whichopens June 4, “sheds light on the constant bullying of queer streetartists and depicts the lineage of queers in street art and graffiti.”

According to a police report, Novy was arrested by SanFrancisco police shortly after a May 4, 2010 incident where he allegedly pushedCastro resident Jesse Sanford up against a wall and cracked the glass ofSanford’s front door.

The report says that Novy had asked to spend the night atSanford’s home because he was “under the influence of alcohol,” butSanford and a roommate had turned him down, according to the report, a copy ofwhich the B.A.R. obtained. Sanford declined to comment on theincident.

Novy, 31, was booked on charges related to battery,vandalism, and disorderly conduct. The District Attorney’s office subsequentlycharged him only with misdemeanor vandalism.

On May 17, 2010, Novy appeared in San Francisco SuperiorCourt and he was referred to pretrial diversion, which could have led to hiscase being dismissed. He was ordered to return to court on June 21 for a reporton whether he was eligible for the diversion program.

Novy didn’t appear at the June hearing, and the courtissued a bench warrant for his arrest. Bail was set at $5,000.

Dispute with B.A.R. editor

In another incident, B.A.R. assistanteditor Jim Provenzano filed a request for orders to stop harassment with SanFrancisco Superior Court last Thursday, May 26.

The request stems from a history with Novy that dates tolast year. In 2010, B.A.R. general manager Michael Yamashitacaught Novy defacing the paper’s property and asked him to stop.

In January 2011, Provenzano and Novy were both set to beguests on the cable show Ten Percent. Provenzano requested that Novynot post his work on the B.A.R.’s property.

According to documents that Provenzano filed with thecourt, Novy “flew into a verbal rage” and said, “I will bombyour office! I know where you are now! I know who you are!” Later thatsame day, he allegedly spray painted “Everything you did in NYC for queersyou fucked up today” on the B.A.R.’s back doors.

In the documents, Provenzano says Novy posted a photo ofthe graffiti on Facebook, along with the message “Die, motherfuckers,die!!!”

The paper’s management filed a request for a restrainingorder against Novy to protect staff and premises, but because he couldn’t befound, a process server’s attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.

Provenzano’s recent filing covers only him. According tothose documents, postings against Provenzano appeared on Novy’s Facebook”wall,” including a May 25 message that said, “It’s official.Jim Provenzano is closely related to the Jewish Nazi members. A selfhater.”

Vandalism case continues

On May 20, police arrested Novy on the bench warrant fromlast June, though police spokesman Lieutenant Troy Dangerfield couldn’t tellthe B.A.R. exactly what type of incident was involved. Erica Derryck,a spokeswoman for the DA’s office, confirmed the arrest, but didn’t havedetails and said there’s no new case stemming from it.

In court Friday, May 27, Ariana Downing, an attorneyrepresenting Novy, said he hadn’t appeared in court last June because he hadbeen under the impression that his case was going to be dismissed.

Judge Donna Alyson Little expressed frustration with Novy’scase and said, “I’m not buying what he says.” Little dischargedNovy’s bench warrant and terminated him from pretrial diversion. The nexthearing in his case is June 21. Assistant District Attorney Lindsay Hoopes isprosecuting the case.

Novy was served with a copy of Provenzano’s request fororders to stop harassment Friday morning when he entered the Hall of Justice. Acourt date for that case has been set for June 8.

Pam Peniston, the Queer Cultural Center’s artistic director,declined an interview request. In response to an email from the B.A.R., she saidshe had no comment on Provenzano and Novy’s “personal fight.”However, she did say, “We commissioned Jeremy to curate an exhibition andhe’s done a great job with it.”

Provenzano questioned why the center is promoting Novy’sexhibit that’s “fighting homophobia” when he’s “clearlyinflicted it on many gay people.”

Novy’s work had been on display at Sweet Inspiration,a Castro neighborhood cafe, but it has been taken down.

Robert Vo, the cafe’s curator, had said in aninterview when Novy’s artwork was still up that, “An artist crosses theline at times, but that’s not my issue, per se. Whatever is between him and thelaw is between him and the law. I have nothing to do with that.”

But the work was removed, Vo said, because ofcomplaints about its quality.

Before his hearing Friday, when a B.A.R. reporterintroduced himself, Novy said, “Fuck you. You can write that in the paper,too.” Outside court, he placed his hand over the reporter’s notebook tostop him from taking notes and yelled that the B.A.R. wasstalking him, among other complaints.

Article source: http://www.ebar.com/news/article.php?sec=news&article=5751

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