November 20, 2010

Banksy vs. Tagging.


They’re braggadicio as art: full of pride, empty of content. They’re beautiful, sometimes, when practiced by free flowing well practiced masters—but, too often, they’re amateur hour urban clutter: the harbinger of crime and food deserts, broken windows and potholes.

When NYC began systematically, nightly removing tags and graffiti from their subways, famously, crime hit a tipping point and soon was, like the graffiti, washed away, cleaned up.

But, then, Banksy’s art is graffiti, too. A self-styled “graffiti terrorist,” his art crosses the line between vandalism and society-changing artistic and political expression. So it’s interesting, and illuminating even, to see his disdain for tags—for signatures that sign, you know, nothing but themselves.

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