DealZone

Lewis joins NY artist’s Wall Street rogues’ gallery

August 19, 2009

His past subjects have included Lehman Brothers’ Dick Fuld, AIG’s Hank Greenberg and Bear Stearns Jimmy Cayne.  So when Brooklyn-based artist Geoffrey Raymond, 55, decided to do a portrait of Ken Lewis it wasn’t exactly something to celebrate for the embattled Bank of America CEO.

Like a grim reaper of high finance, Raymond was proudly exhibiting his latest work on a balmy Wednesday afternoon outside Bank of America’s new Manhattan tower. His latest is a rendition of the now-famous photo from Lewis’ Feb. 11, 2009 testimony before Congress.

Lewis is downcast, his scowl on full display.

Raymond’s art is an interactive experience — he encourages people to write on the portraits, venting their frustration, and Lewis’ was no exception.

For Raymond, a painting — the latest in a series of 18 — that last year would have met with audience furor is now more muted.

After much wheedling and begging with a pair of women re-entering the building,  Raymond got one woman’s opinion of Lewis, but had to write it for her after she whispered it in his ear.

“Nobody will know it’s you,” he said.

The resulting quote, referred to the bank’s contentious buyout of Merrill Lynch last year: “I can’t believe you USA/sold BofA out. It’s the little people who suffer ’cause the ML guys suck!”

Raymond’s next project?

A series of paintings in same spirit, portaits of CNBC luminaries (he previously portrayed Maria Bartiromo as the Money Honey) like Erin Burnett, Jim Cramer and Charles Gasparino.

Leaving plenty of room for annotation, of course. — By Joe Rauch

(Photograph, of a previous Geoffrey Raymond portrait, of Alan Greenspan, by Reuters)

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