A Little More On 5pointz, Activism, And The Meaning Being Sought By Some

A brief summary:  A few years ago, the owner of a large abandoned building site in Queens decided to sell and redevelop what had become a popular graffiti destination over the years.

Personally, I don’t take pleasure in the erasing of people’s hard work and creativity, nor in the breaking-up of a graffiti-collective which traveled far and wide to get to 5pointz, nor even in the iconic stature they gave the place, but David Thompson summed it up pretty well:

‘The moral of the story, gentlemen, is buy your own canvas’

Three photos and some backstory here.  5pointz had become something of a graffiti mecca, arguably more than the sum of its parts:

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Speaking of whitewashing, the whitewashing of 5pointz also attracted THE non-local, world-traveling ‘artist’ simply known as gilf!. gilf! brought to bear a few thousand years of Western art to the cause when she draped a mock ‘Gentrification In Progress’ police-tape around the building. Surely, the locals were grateful for her superior craftsmanship, her show of strained solidarity and righteous self-promotion (helping to drive the gentrification, of course).

Time Out had some coverage.

More on gilf! here from her site (much as the link pains me):

‘gilf! is a conceptual artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. gilf! was born out of the artist’s definitive need to protest the Bush Administration. Baffled at our culture’s lack of response to the crumbling structures of society she uses concept specific materials to present new perspectives to her viewers.’

Uh-oh:

‘She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a BS in Fine Art.’

Oh, I’m pretty sure there was some BS involved.

More broadly, romanticizing the logic of the street, and taggers, comes with its own risks. Celebrate the spirit of creative lawlessness and turf warfare with the full acceptance that there ain’t much law involved.  I’m sure 5pointz served as an escape, and a positive environment for many, but all the other things going on in these neighborhoods aren’t so uplifting.

That’s right Banksy, it’s still a tagger’s world:

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I”m getting a sense that even should graffiti become a longer-lasting vehicle for artistic expression, beyond the street, it likely began for many non-taggers possibly in affect, driven by ideology, or the boredom and rebellion of the suburbs and people looking for some meaning in their lives.

What are they overlooking? What are they looking for? What do the people looking at the work might think they’re looking at?

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Also, from David Thompson, If you build the art museums, some people believe ‘culture’ will follow.

So what’s wrong with liking art, recognizing some inherent value in the pleasure it gives and importance in one’s own life, potentially to other lives, and more broadly to one’s own society in supporting public funding of museums and art education?

Follow this link for an interesting debate.

For the libertarians, Bastiat is mentioned, and for the pop-art lovers, so is David Byrne of the Talking Heads (featured in the NY Times):

‘I refrain from calling Byrne a socialist, but what goes unsaid here is that our objections are to a prior assumption by believers in state power, namely that because some undertaking is worth doing, that the state ought to be doing it. If Byrne is addressing society in the above quote (and I think he is to some degree, although largely by not making Bastiat’s distinction), he is doing so as if it were an aggregate, even an abstraction. This may be the essence of the statist mind: that an abstracted aggregate of other people ought to be devoting their energies to the effort I deem noble. It’s from there that the demands flow. The collectivist is not asking you to give up expenditures on your hobby to support his (even if his has been fashioned into a career), he’s asking the abstract aggregate to change its trajectory or support the arts or something nebulous and lofty like that. Cargo Culture springs into being when such demands are met.’

When does the typical introspection of the artist become self-indulgence, or bear little resemblance to function and other ideas?:

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Related On This Site:Heather MacDonald At The City Journal: ‘Radical Graffiti Chic’

Some Links On 5Pointz, Graffiti, & The Arts–Property Rights & The Rule-Of-Law

So, You’re Telling Me What’s Cool?-Theodore Dalrymple At The City Journal: ‘Banksy In Neverland’

People are using art for political, religious, commercial and ideological reasons as always…right or left…believer or non-believer…Dove’s Campaign For Real Beauty: Pascal Dangin And AestheticsFrom Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit

Trading Robert Moses for Brailia…an authoritarian streak?:  Brasilia: A Planned CityAnd AestheticsRoger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?

Jay Z And Marina Abramovic Via Twitter: A Pop-Rap Art Marketing Performaganza… A museum industrial complex…more complexes…who are the people museums should be serving? James Panero At The New Criterion: ‘Time to Free NY’s Museums: The Met Responds’

From Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’…Marketplace aesthetics in service of “women”: Dove’s Campaign For Real Beauty: Pascal Dangin And Aesthetics

Philosopher Of Art Denis Dutton of the Arts & Letters Daily says the arts and Darwin can be sucessfully synthesized: Review of Denis Dutton’s ‘The Art Instinct’

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