Tag Archives: Graffiti

Graffiti As Vandalism, Not Art

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.

Iouri Podladtchikov, Olympic half-pipe king visits the lower east side with typical graffiti defacing a grand old building.  photo - Casey Kelbaugh for the New York Times

Iouri Podladtchikov, Olympic half-pipe king visits the lower east side with typical graffiti defacing a grand old building. photo – Casey Kelbaugh for the New York Times

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.

Subway graffiti photo taken Feb 8, 1982

Subway graffiti photo taken Feb 8, 1982

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. Continue reading

The “Artwork” Of The 110 Harbor Freeway Los Angeles

Why Go To The Museum of Contemporary Art or The Getty?

 If you live around Los Angeles and are too busy to go to a museum to see paintings you can always get your fill of art while driving to work.

On the constantly congested 110 Freeway, one can take in up close the utter decay of the city every 6 to 30 feet. That is the range of distance between the supporting pillars of the freeway on the median which are marred by the ugly scrawls of grade school drop-outs. Continue reading

The New York Times Obituaries Occasionally Celebrates Low-Lifes, Yet Ignores Deserving Artists and Notables

Who Gets A New York Times Obituary Write-up?

What do legendary blues and heavy metal guitarist, Gary Moore, rock album photographer Jim McCrary and playwright, screenwriter, author and jazz champion Max Wilk all have in common?

When they died, The New York Times did not cover their deaths in the obituary column. We all know space is limited, but these people were significant in their artistic fields, enriching the lives of countless others.  It would be nice had the self-proclaimed “newspaper of record” recorded and noted their amazing lives. But The Times editors felt these people were not deserving.

The official policy about who the The Times decides to write up is :

When we look to see whether someone had made a newsworthy impact in some way — who “made a wrinkle in the social fabric,” — we don’t equate significance with fame. In point of fact, 9 out of 10 people we write about are indeed not household names (the 10th is — a movie star, a secretary of state). But that doesn’t negate their importance. Most made their marks in quiet ways, out of the public limelight, but they still made a mark, possibly on your life and mine.

So who is deserving?

Apparently an unremarkable low-life, graffiti tagger, StayHigh 149, a.k.a.  Wayne Roberts , can get a full write-up.

Yes, Roberts definitely, as The Times puts it, “made a mark on your life and mine.”

More like a blemish.

Especially in New York City in the 1970’s when the city was bombarded with the eyesore of graffiti defacing public and private property.

As is noted in the obituary, this great man (sarcasm) in the 1960’s was working as a messenger on Wall Street and smoking about an ounce of marijuana a week, earning the Stay High nickname.

Inspired by other vandals tagging subway cars, he then began defacing public property.

Chris Pape a fellow graffiti  afficianado says in the Times obituary:

“He (Roberts) rode empty trains all day with markers in his pocket, and he wrote everywhere.” By the early ’80s, Pape said, drugs had begun to take their toll. Roberts left his World Trade Center job, and his wife, because of his drug use. “He was a functional junkie who occasionally did time in prison for stupid things,” Pape said. “He was like that for 20 years. He didn’t want to be found.”

For some reason, I can only think of the millions of wasted dollars that it cost taxpayers to eradicate the vandalism this cretin created.  As I have said before – graffiti is definitely not art.

This is the sort of person The New York Times chooses to cover in their obituaries?

For the record, when one of the most influential singers in heavy metal history, Ronnie James Dio, died on May 16, 2010, the following day The Times devoted 493 words to summing up his life.

Graffiti vandal Wayne Roberts had 838 words written about him.

Rise in Graffiti Reported Across USA

Graffiti is Vandalism, Not Art

The New York Times story on the rise of graffiti in cities both large and small is disturbing. For those who say graffiti is art, I would like to be invited to your home and I will splash paint over your entire home inside and out Jackson Pollack style, dripping and splashing it everywhere I can. If you don’t like it too bad, I’m not cleaning it up.

But you say that’s not art. I say that it is.

You say, what right do I have to come to your home and deface it?

That is exactly my point.

Our cities and public surroundings are our homes and no one has the right to deface public or private property.

The majority of graffiti artists are not frustrated artists but are in reality criminals, juvenile delinquents and gang members, who have a compulsion to etch, paint, mark or deface public property. Continue reading