Friday, June 24, 2011

NYC Government Cock Blocks Graffiti Exhibit at Brooklyn Museum

Cities are known for a few things: being loud, busy and covered in graffiti. Most of the graffiti is unsightly and relatively predictable—a person’s name, a few expletives and maybe an ugly mushroom or two—but some of it is gorgeous and elaborate.

Graffiti, the good and the bad, ornaments a city’s visage. The process of creating street art is still an underground operation, and while some cities like LA have tapped into its unique beauty and have brought it above ground, other places like Brooklyn would prefer to keep it where it already is.

The Brooklyn Museum was set to host the “Arts in the Streets” exhibition currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. The show would have attracted graffiti enthusiasts from all over the city whose only opportunity to appreciate the art is searching for it scattered throughout the boroughs and at 5 Pointz in Queens.

The LA show features a famed lineup of street artists: Fab 5 Feddy, Lee Quinones, Futura, Margaret Kilgallen, Swoon, Shepard Fairey, Os Gemeos and JR, amongst other local talents.

The Brooklyn show, however, was cancelled due to a questionable issue of funding in the “current financial climate,” says Arnold L. Lehman, director of the Brooklyn Museum. The cancellation comes at an interesting time following an article entitled “Radical Graffiti Chic,” written by a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, Heather Mac Donald.

The article criticizes the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles for “glorifying vandalism,” according to the New York Times. This prompted The Daily News to write an article about the exhibition coming to Brooklyn, saying, “mavens will be sticking their thumbs in the eyes of every bodega owner and restaurant manager who struggles to keep his or her property graffiti-free.”

Following The Daily News article, Brooklyn City Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr. wrote a letter to the Brooklyn Museum, stating, “Let me be very clear, taxpayer money should NOT be used to encourage the destruction of our taxpayers’ property.” He then reminded Leham that the museum gets $9 million of its annual funding from the city. A short while after this exchange the show was cancelled.

Going to the New York City government website will bring you to a page called the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, where a project called “Quality of Life: Graffiti Free NYC,” is detailed as “combat[ing] graffiti in our communities,” and encourages residents to join the fight to “keep New York beautiful.”

Residents are prompted to call 311 or fill out a “Forever Graffiti Free form” to have painters—volunteers with a street art vendetta—come out and paint over the images they think plague the city. By day these people work with solid color paints (usually white) and wield large brushes and rollers. They’re believers that a muted cityscape is beautiful.

By night a different set of painters wielding spray paint, stencils and stickers adorn the empty walls and sidewalks they see as blank canvases.

Is City Councilman Vallone right in assuming the preferred aesthetic of taxpayers is a stark brick wall? Who’s to say? Which taxpayers?

And would the “Arts in the Streets” exhibition even necessarily encourage graffiti by acknowledging it as valid art?

No one above ground is going to stop graffiti artists either way—especially not with a $9 million threat from city government. Jeffery Deitch, the director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA told the New York Times, “We will find a way to bring it to New York. If not in a museum, we’ll just do it on our own.”


Taken from: Deathandtaxes Mag

If you liked the post, CLICK HERE to subscribe our feed and receive all the news about the blog!

0 comment(s):

Find us on Facebook

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...