Museum of The City Of New York Graffiti Exhibition Doesn’t Show What The Majority Of Graffiti Is – Unintelligible Scrawls By Vandals
I caught the newest exhibit at The Museum of the City of New York entitled “City as Canvas,” which glorifies the practitioners of graffiti and their “work” during the 1970’s and 1980’s in New York City.
For anyone who thinks that graffiti is something to be celebrated in a retrospective by an exhibition at an important cultural institution, here is some evidence to contradict that viewpoint.
A typical display of current graffiti “art” as seen in this building covered by spray paint on the lower east side really is a better representation of the so called graffiti artist. It pains me to see old handcrafted stone buildings covered with paint. The beautiful Queensboro Bridge girders and stonework are always being cleaned and re-painted due to these miscreants who attack our public property with their spray cans, markers and etching knives.
The onslaught of graffiti began in earnest in the subway system in the 1970’s where riding a train was a demoralizing prospect. Almost every single car was covered in dripping unintelligible paint and marker scrawls, which obliterated any blank spaces. The stations and tunnels were just as bad.
The vandals did most of their desecration at the subway yards where they could take their time to tag as many cars as possible. Often they would write over one another’s works, making it a mish-mash of ugliness.
The inside of the trains were just as depressing as the outside was. It gave you a real sense of the depravity that surrounded you.
It was sickening to ride the subways and truly dangerous because of the constant threat of criminal activity. It certainly didn’t help that the graffiti added a layer of despair and fear that enveloped almost anyone setting foot on a train.
The praising critics at The New York Times, Associated Press and local newspapers such as NYPress.com whose critic entitled her review “When Graffiti Was Great,” are in grave error.
Living through the graffiti era of the 1970’s and 1980’s New York was to live through the height of urban blight.
Yes, the graffiti “artists” shown in the MCNY exhibition were talented. But these “artists” in the exhibition made up a small percentage of the people that defaced and destroyed public property. They represent the few that had some artistic talent, however misdirected it might be. It is the criminal act of graffiti, one of public vandalism that the public should truly find deplorable.
The overwhelming majority of graffiti that plagued our buildings, civic statues, public transportation, highways, rooftops, trees, cemeteries, mailboxes and any other blank space that these vandals got their grubby little hands on was committed by no talent criminals.
Simply put, graffiti is disgusting and a crime that still costs taxpayers millions of dollars.
So let’s call a spade a spade.
To celebrate graffiti is a symptom of how far we have devolved as a society. Putting on an exhibit to glorify this behavior is a disgrace.