Graffiti is public art. Yep, art.

Thanks to Gothamist, found this article.

The artists definately have a point. They have a right to artistic and creative ownership over anything that is of their own. Photographers and publishers who try and appropriate ‘street’ culture or whatever they think it is strip it of definately some of its value, diminish its effect and its origins as ‘public’, very potentially ephemeral art, by immortalising its.

I like the part where the ‘struggling artist’ calls herself (and her ‘clan’) generous and shameless self promoters. Very honest. Nice and egotistical, probably just about as much as you need to be in that environment. Publicatios that attempt to convey how certain groups ‘express’ themselves will often be doing so for their own motives, to serve their own purposes (moral, monetary, anything) rather than actually with any interest in the people who they are ethnographicising. Which is a difficult issue when sorting out cultural studies, of course, but one that needs more consideration when it occurs.

One part in particular I take issue with: that graffiti artists (and this is coming from an artist, too) are ‘accustomed to feeling this is never going to last forever. So we photograph them for our archives.’ That is what is so amazing, beautiful, and important about graffiti and public art- that it doesn’t last. That its existence is always illustrative of a transitory moment between one sense of expression and the next. It should be a tangible, yet always intangible, signifier of the liminality of human culture.


About cinemelo

I love to write about film and comment on culture. Hopefully providing insight and interesting thoughts for fellow cultural itinerants.
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One Response to Graffiti is public art. Yep, art.

  1. nodda says:

    i don’t know bout this copyright stuff. i kind of think that if you put your art out on a wall, in the street, in public space then it’s out there. graffiti is art, in a sense, but in its foundings didn’t conform to the white cube reification that would see it as protected by law. maybe it’s different if it’s legal graffiti, with a patron or permission from the wall owner, maybe then there’s more of a mural/art sensibility to it. but in the general graffiti culture of filling walls with colour, identity, presence and territorial connotations, it’s up for grabs. in the same way that some dick can come and tag over the top of a piece that might’ve taken 3 days to complete, a guy can photograph it and put it in his book. it’s shit, but it happens. to say that the guy couldn’t do that just places another layer of censorship down over a practice that claims to defy and spit in the face of censorship. among other things it’s hypocritical. there’s a more creative way to deal with this perceived problem. if they really want to make sure their work’s protected then they should put it in a gallery. of course it’d have to be a milkbar converted gallery or something, you know, for cred an all that…but if they choose to put their work on the street, and choose to take on graff. identity then they’re work is free, death of the author and all that. if their sick of being expoited by the mainstream then they should do something about it…let see some progress instead of stagnant frustration. the reason they get paid for their stuff at all if ever is because it’s featured on tv and in books, because that’s where it’s ‘legitimised’ by a population who can and will fund it…

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