Tuesday, May 27, 2008

cops & taggers

what is art? i ask that question in my sociology class, with the follow up question of is graffiti art? it's interesting to hear the responses.

today, two stories popped into my view, both about tagging. now, in both cases taggers were involved w/law enforcement. but, it seems that there were subtle differences in how the situations were handled.

in l.a., a tagger working under the nom de plume buket has wracked up over $150,000 in damages to walls, buses, signs, etc all over so.cal and southern nevada. dude was prolific and he did it in a little different fashion. you see, he was doing a lot of it in the daylight, just right out in the open. and, it was getting posted on youtube. not sure exactly how much youtube played into him getting caught, but he was, and he's up on felony vandalism charges.

in philly,
well cops there just can't seem to catch a break. perhaps they could start by not assaulting any more suspects. two cops there saw a man graffiti'ing and beat him up. broke his jaw on one side. kicked him in the groin. put him in the hospital for a few days. but, didn't arrest him, and then falsified records of where they were @ the time of the assault. nice work, philly pd, keep it up. a few more "unrelated incidents" and you'll have days of rioting to face (e.g. cincinnati).


Adam said...

So, my question is this, does the illegality of it make it more artful? Because there are plenty of places willing to have murals done with permission from the owner. Like, not highway signs.

There's a line there between art and vandalism. Would it be art for me to sneak into the Louvre and paint a mustache on the Mona Lisa versus acquiring a print and painting a mustache on it?

And there are plenty of ways to paint art in public spaces without damaging things, like Wigger's big hanging canvases.

edluv said...

there are varying thoughts on graf & art. some "purists" would say that if you get permission that it is no longer graf. for them, graf always has to have the level of illegality.

for me, the art vs vandalism really comes down to the work you do. not all graf is art, but some can be. simple tags rarely will achieve the level of art, and really most taggers aren't graffiti artists.

as for wigger's big hanging canvases, those don't remain. he does those in public to draw attention and sell them. they aren't left behind. but, that is art done in public.

even though i like some graffiti, i am troubled by the idea of defacing someone else's property. i don't think you should cover other people's art (like i've seen tags on the rotary sponsored art along 41/180/99). i don't think you should paint on someone's house. and, i'm not really all that comfy w/people just painting on a business. now, alleyways, canals, etc have been places i've appreciated graf. especially on trains.

Adam said...

I agree.

I watched some of the youtube videos of that Buket guy and all I saw was him tagging highway signs with that stereotypical bubble lettering rendition of his name. Not art and done in a dangerous place in a manner that's costly to clean up.

In other news, I saw a guy working on a mural on the west side of Scully Bros. the other day in that little alley way.