Frank's pop culture minute.

For the discussion of Movies, Television, Comics, and other existential distractions.

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FrankChurch
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Frank's pop culture minute.

Postby FrankChurch » Wed Oct 18, 2006 12:56 pm

A regular look at the world of pop culture, in short form.

Question number one: Is Graffiti art? Yes, says Frank.

If it is done with a keen eye and skill it can be as great as any other art. Just because it is sprayed on a wall is not the point--that actually makes it even more subversive, which is a good thing.

Stupid is graffiti is still a pain and blight to any city. The great artists should be encouraged to be legit, while the dumb taggers should be kicked in the butt.

A Wasted Mind
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Postby A Wasted Mind » Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:20 pm

Who gets to decide which grafitti is art and which is merely a nuisance?

Carstonio
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Postby Carstonio » Thu Oct 19, 2006 4:38 am

This will probably make me sound like an old-style reactionary, but regardless of the artistic merit of graffiti, people have no business putting graffiti on other people's property.

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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Thu Oct 19, 2006 12:53 pm

It's reality.

Like prostitution, religion, and war, graffiti has always been with us - and it always WILL be. It follows urban life and can be traced back thousands of years.

Archealogists are probably the sole subset of society that by-and-large LOVE graffiti, because it provides records of cultural antiquity - telling us something about what urban life was like in eras long ago.

Graffiti in Pompeii were preserved almost intact when Mt. Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. and buried the city under volcanic ash. Pompeii's man in the street, like modern man, used walls to write humorously about politics, sex, and love.

Graffiti dates back to the advent of Christianity.

Graffiti was discovered in diverse places such as the Roman catacombs, and on the Egyptian sphinxes - placed on the latter by ancient Greek mercenaries.

In short, whether you hate it or not, graffiti has always been with us and always will be.

My own acknowledgement of this reality has made me indifferent about the issue for the most part. If anything I actually sometimes gaze at sections of the city to see what bizarre niches some manage to reach - sometimes high, HIGH above freeways or in difficult underpasses. I may hate the blotches and scrawlings, but I can sometimes appreciate the slyness - having been a skulker when I was a kid.

Bottom line, though, is that it simply has ALWAYS been with us and always WILL be. On the whole, you can't stop it. So, as an issue, it's a low priority for me.

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David Loftus
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Postby David Loftus » Thu Oct 19, 2006 3:15 pm

Amen, robo.

If graffiti "artists" could make any money doing real art, they would.

I can agree that a piece of graffiti may be artistic, but not that it could ever constitute "great art."

Graffiti is, almost by definition, a chickenshit "fuck you" to someone, which is why I tend to respect it more if it has genuine political content. Otherwise (and most of the time this appears to be the case), it's little more than the cry of the lonely, unimaginative, and inarticulate ego. (Read the passage in Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test where he summarizes Ken Kesey's speech at a Vietnam anti-war/peace rally, in which Kesey likens his hosts to the screaming voices at a Beatles concert, for further elucidation).

I did take a photo of a graffito once, in St. Petersburg in 1994: "Pinc Floyd."

It wouldn't have been worth it, had it not been for the misspelling.
War is, at first, the hope that one will be better off; next, the expectation that the other fellow will be worse off; then, the satisfaction that he isn't any better off; and, finally, the surprise at everyone's being worse off. - Karl Kraus

Carstonio
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Postby Carstonio » Thu Oct 19, 2006 8:11 pm

robochrist wrote:Like prostitution, religion, and war, graffiti has always been with us - and it always WILL be. It follows urban life and can be traced back thousands of years.


I agree in principle. Emotionally, I equate graffiti with neighborhood decay. When I see graffiti on a building, I automatically assume that it's not safe to be in that area at night. It's not so much the graffiti itself as what it represents.

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JohnPacer
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Postby JohnPacer » Thu Oct 19, 2006 8:51 pm

If graffiti "artists" could make any money doing real art, they would.



Many of them do, these days, especially in San Francisco. A well known graffiti artist, "Twist" (I forget his real name), has gallery shows now as do many others.

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:19 pm

Jello Biafra first brought up the graffiti is art stuff, in one of his spoken words. He thinks graffiti should be shown in museums--a kind of punk art. If punk can be art, why not graffiti?

Social decay is not what I was talking about. It is like the debate about rap--some rap promotes social decay, some goes in the progressive direction.

Social protest can be art, if you look at it that way.

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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:08 pm

Frank,

I'm most likely crossing lines here, like the schoolground bully I can be, but the other thing that irritates me often about your posts - outside of factual inaccuracies, naive idealism, wanna-beisms, poor reading, and that GRATING "he-he" of yours that keeps me awake long nights - is that you all to often key in platitudes, truisms, and banalities when, I presume, you THINK you're laying on a piece of insight.

...just letting you know I often feel embarrassed for you. SOMEONE has to do it.

Carstonio,

You probably ought to re-conceptualize graffiti and the associations you make. You'll find it just about anywhere - including in locations that are hardly dangerous.

As to the notions posted by others about someone being PAID for the graffitti...well, then, in my mind it isn't graffitti - it's a commission (which may LOOK like graffitti).

...because, to me, by historical definition, graffitti - whether or not it demonstrates any legitimate craftsmanship (and 97% of the time it sure as hell DOESN'T) - is an uninvited impulse at the point of a spray can, without a pay offer of any kind.

Just ask those Greek mercenaries thousands of years ago who "defiled" them there sphinxes of Egypt.

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:31 pm

Pop culture and reality collide. I've been here many a night on the hunger bend:

Image

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:33 pm

Factual innacuracies my ass, you are just mad cause Harlan fudged ya.

You ask twenty people on the street, is graffiti art, they will mostly, I'd think, laugh at you.

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robochrist
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Postby robochrist » Fri Oct 20, 2006 2:58 pm

Frank...

...just letting you know I feel embarrassed for you.

SOMEONE has to do it.

(Incidentally, you dorky human caliper, I AM an artist)

Carstonio
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Postby Carstonio » Fri Oct 20, 2006 9:10 pm

robochrist wrote:Carstonio,

You probably ought to re-conceptualize graffiti and the associations you make. You'll find it just about anywhere - including in locations that are hardly dangerous.


Is that the case? I had read that most modern graffiti is the work of gangs marking their territory. Or is that a 1970s version of the shoes-hanging-from-the-power-lines urban legend?

I can understand the idea of graffiti as artistic expression. But I also know that if someone tried to put graffiti on a building I owned, I would feel like beating the shit out of the person, because I would feel like my personal boundaries had been violated.

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Sat Oct 21, 2006 8:16 am

Graffiti was about gang taggings in the 70's, hip-hop culture made graffiti an artform, much like any other painting. Styles change, as they say.

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FrankChurch
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Postby FrankChurch » Sat Oct 21, 2006 8:20 am

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