Would you be willing to undermine property-rights and the rule-of-law in order to celebrate ‘graffiti-art’?
NY Curbed has 5Pointz coverage here.
A NY Times beat reporter shares in the suffering of those graffiti artists whose 5pointz canvas was whitewashed in preparation for demolition by owner Jerry Wolkoff.
‘One street artist, who would give his name only as Just, had at least two works painted over. He spent hours early Tuesday gazing at the whitewashed buildings, leaning against a red-brick wall across the street. Then he bought himself a tall glass of beer, which he sipped slowly from a brown paper bag.
“Heartbreaking,” he said. “This is not just about graffiti — it’s about the unity of people who met here from all over the world.” He paused and took a drink. “That’s what really hurts.”
Three photos and some backstory here. 5pointz had become something of a graffiti mecca, arguably more than the sum of its parts:
Now that the real-estate market is heating-up in NYC, Wolkoff decided to whitewash his building overnight (where else will De Blasio get the revenue to keep his coalitions together?).
Every bit of graffiti scrawled there over 40-years was at his discretion.
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 sums it up pretty well:
‘The moral of the story, gentlemen, is buy your own canvas’
The pathos in the Times article stops short of a familiar ‘art will unite all races, classes, & genders,’ type of Leftist political ideology. It seems the American traditions of property-rights and rule-of-law stop even some of the most ardent liberal commentators at the Time from a full-on celebration of anarchic victim-hood and a culture most probably don’t understand very well. Better to play-it-safe.
Or better to celebrate the way street-culture and graffiti has interacted with money and market forces through tourism. 5pointz arguably was a tourism draw.
From The Times piece:
‘Though street art is meant to be temporary, 5Pointz became known as a graffiti museum. And the medium itself, once considered a symbol of urban unraveling, became a sought after gallery-worthy commodity, with work from street artists like Banksy commanding millions of dollars. Which is one of the reasons the whitewashing of 5Pointz’s walls was greeted with such vociferous dismay. “What?! What did they do?!” cried a tour guide named Hans Von Rittern, as he raced out of a tour bus early Tuesday, his arms wide, his face crumpling as soon as he caught sight of Ms. Flaguel. They embraced tightly and wept.’
They embraced tightly and wept!
Again, I would argue to the people in the hip-hop community and to whom 5pointz meant something more than a revenue stream or a cultural merit badge: While property-rights and rule-of-law may have caused you harm in this case, and may pit some of your interests against the interests of others who may not understand where you’re coming from, in the long-run both of these institutions may serve your interests and freedoms better than the collectivism of the Left, and the way the abstract-equality crowd will round you up into groups of victims and claim to feel your pain.
My two cents. It can’t be a good day for those who lost something. It’s hard out there.
Here’s a video:
So is it worthy of institutionalization? How does one weigh the aesthetic value of graffiti against the criminality that often goes with it…and the hypocrisy of those who don’t have to live around graffiti and the gang activity who are often legitimizing it? Heather MacDonald has been consistently focusing on the harm done by crime, and to the victims of criminals against those (usually on the Left) who wish to view criminals as victims themselves…within a larger ideological framework…with consequences for the rest of us.
Related On This Site:Heather MacDonald At The City Journal: ‘Radical Graffiti Chic’
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 Aesthetics…From 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 City…And Aesthetics…Roger 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’
How might Nietzsche figure in the discussion, at least with regard to Camille Paglia. See the comments: Repost-Camille Paglia At Arion: Why Break, Blow, Burn Was Successful…Here’s Nietzsche scholar J.P. Stern on Nietzsche’s anti-Christian, anti-secular morality (Kant, utilitarians), anti-democratic, and anti-Greek (except the “heroic” Greek) biases…