City Journal Autumn 2014

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Heather Mac Donald
Pathetic Crybaby Graffiti Vandals « Back to Story

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Well heeled poseurs flogging fautgressive differance for fat commissions.

I tried carrying a can of spray paint into a gallery showing "graffiti art" in LA. They were actually searching people at the door. "Can't bring that in," they said. But, I countered, I have a political, social, and economic statement to make. Tagging is real, it's now, it's the word on the street and the throb of the beat.

Oh no. Tag poor folks' 'hoods. Not the fautistes' commodities. Hell, I'd'a thought it'd add to their value at auction!

Effete horse hockey. I can't believe anyone takes these dipsticks seriously. They're hipsters with undescended testicles.
Who knew that graffiti thugs could read!! Looking at their work around the city it appears they can't even draw letters of the alphabet correctly. I've often thought they need to redo kindergarten so the teacher could spend time making them do the letters over and over again until they got them right.
I understand this story and I understand your hatred of the artists in this story, but just look at yourself. You have become 'the man.' ....And then I looked at your name. Heather. Typical. You are old and irrelevant. You are yelling to the kids 'to quiet down that hip-hop or else. Good luck with the remainder of your grumpy old life, hag.
-High School Junior
Robert Marchenoir October 04, 2011 at 1:53 PM
He's involved with a wall ? Good grief...
These people, like the rest of the left, embrace hypocrisy. However, in the people's paradise such "art" would be strictly regulated, and those who engage in it would be swinging from lamp posts.
When I was doing graff, I did it to be destructive. If my grandma can't read my letters, I'm doing something wrong. street art is for posers, bombing is where its at.
"Hard working hardware store owners.." As in Lowes, Walmart, or Michaels? Sorry for taking from these hardworking store owners. What is this "rebellion nonsense" ? Out of all the painters i know, NONE do it to "take down the man" or cause a ruckus. We do it because its the art we love, and to make a point and just maybe have one other person make another point and you can connect those dots and actually make a change in some ones life. Really though, you will never understand our culture and thats okay. You may do book art, we do street art.
ART is not a crime. There is big difference between a building manager, and a building owner. If the owner gave permission, no problem. If the "manager" did, there is a problem, and depending on the agreement between the property owner and the artists, the artists have a legal right to take action.
fluxcapacitor82 : "They don't read the news nor do they want to go to college."

Oh, well in that case clearly the laws should not apply to them...
Louvre has art from another time and almost another world. Today's art with graffiti is in a perfect place because it's putting images in public that are out of context, against advertisements that litter the city. Most graffiti writers I know aren't thugs, they're just kids rebelling. Revok and Saber, are 2 of L.A.'s top Graffiti Artists, they put in hours of work of vandalism to be where they are. WORK, not just sitting around watching tv. Graff writers are not trust fund babies. They don't read the news nor do they want to go to college. If you people humbled yourselves and walked outside of your protective bubble, your eyes would open into reality.
Rikki 1 judging by your comment it is you who knows nothing. Art is the Louvre not graffiti on walls that belong to other people or businesses. I must also think that Gov. Christie represents a threat to your idiotic beLIEf system that is painfully void of respect for others and common sense!?
I met Shepard Fairey a couple of years ago in San Francisco. He was holding an exibition inspired by propaganda posters from China's Cultural Revolution and had erected huge representations of his artwork on the walls outside of the gallery space where his show had been sponsored. Having spent many years in the P.R.C. and being familiar with the original "socialist realism" themes, I asked him if he realized that over 30% of SF was of Chinese heritage and that many had suffered during the Cultural Revolution and would be offended or frightened by his work...much the same as if he had used Nazi propaganda posters as a basis for his work in a heavily Jewish neighborhood in NY. He's a thoughtful, intelligent (and nice) guy...and seemed troubled and distraught by my comments...yet he changed nothing. To do so would have erased his whole current project. I guess his commercial prospects outweighed his social concern.
Heather, you obviously know nothing about art. And let's retain the word "thug" for those who really deserve it, like Chris Christie.
About 45 years ago I picked up a book entitled Kitsch which I passed on to a German (left wing) friend. She and her friends got an enormous kick out of it, pointing out that such a book was needed to introduce Americans to that concept (subtitle: a treatise on bad taste). The word then was widespread in Germany but was just being introduced, expedited by the spread of left wing thinking in USA. The word is by now widely used in USA, primarily by leftists when discussing the bad taste art that has been forced upon us by big business. Graffiti is of course kitsch, apparently no longer bad taste because in is being forced upon us by lefties or whatever. In that book, however, (I'm writing from memory, of 45 years ago)the kitsch was in the form of houses and other structures, the private property or homes of the bad taste artists. The property rights issues were, indeed, old fashioned.
Interesting. Any time I see dysfunctional behavior, my first thought is: Follow the money. Somebody, somewhere, is subsidizing and turning a blind eye to these malevolent little urchins, else they wouldn't have the time and space to do what they do. They now have their own trade association; what's next -- paid lobbyists? Government grants?Signs of the times, as we lapse into barbarism.

P.S. -- Love Heather MacDonald, our latter-day Diogenes. She documents with precision our slow descent into hell.
The point is well made that the self-serving Anti-Capitalist rhetoric of Graffiti writers, as well as their convoluted codes of honor (stealing paint, executing their work without permission, etc.) are more than a bit ridiculous. However, calling these artists thugs smacks of pointless overstatement, and threatens to challenge the sympathy of readers who otherwise whole-heartedly agree with the charge that graffiti writers, rather than "sticking it to the man," are just another aspect of inner-city urban blight. It's worth noting that I, for one, have never, ever, seen graffiti on a brand-new steel-and-glass Manhattan high-rise. It always seems to appear on an old, beloved and neglected bit of brick-and-mortar. More than just hypocrites, graffiti writers are cowards, if they really believe their bogus hype that they are taking on the system.
A term once accepted to identify a valid work of value, that is to say 'art' has been so degraded that it no longer has any worthwhile
meaning. We must rely on a more specific means of identity of such works. As someone recently said, "If I can do it it isn't art". I think that definition, while not specifying what art is , certainly serves to tell us what it isn't.

We should therefore use a word that we can all use and agree upon.
That word is talent. Does the creator of this work demonstrate talent?
For example in the cases mentioned in the article, instead of saying
the graffiti artists we would say 'these talented persons....' which would require that the writer might be called upon to specify just exactly where the talent was demonstrated.