Wednesday, September 16, 2009

D*Face Paints

London-based street artist D*Face is painting a mural in the Meatpacking District.

He's in town for his debut U.S. solo show "All Your Dreams Belong To Us / Ludovico Aversion Therapy" at the Jonathan Levine Gallery.

The show is, in part, about New York's "Shuttered Storefronts"--a topic of interest for many artists these days. For example, No Longer Empty and Nicholas Fraser's memory collecting of empty storefronts.

In an interview in Fecal Face, D*Face talks about what happens when your work goes from the street to the gallery, and the next thing you know, it's coming out in the form of vinyl toys.

About his work, he said, "It was [originally] more escaping the everyday and to get people to question their environment and culture. Question the advertising that is around them. It is a little different now, the more aware the public becomes of street art the less applicable it seems to be. Because it was like 'oh that's D*Face' or 'Shepard' or whoever, instead of what is the meaning behind that."

As even the roughest edges of our city are smoothed splinterless, as the denigrated outsider becomes the high-end insider (Colt 45 at luxe Bowery parties, models dressing up as homeless people, Varvatos selling $700 Ramones t-shirts in the former CBGB's), we are forced to face a number of questions.

When it comes to street art, like D*Face's mural, I like seeing it. I enjoy having it around.

Still, I can't help wondering: How do we think about graffiti when it's officially permitted by the city? How do we think of it when it goes up alongside the new High Line, where unpermitted graffiti is being painted over to create a placid, eye-pleasing environment for property investors?

Is graffiti still graffiti when it's not defacing public property?


Melanie said...

Funny you say this--I took a photo the other day of writing in cement and this made me think back to when my Mom would watch to make sure no one defaced the sidewalk when it was paved--Graffiti has come a long way. I like it on gates and walls but in concrete--not so much.

ariel ariel said...

There are these new ads up through the EV - they are building wrappers, I guess, and made to look like someone defaced them with red graffiti.

It makes me so mad that when it is put there by people who live in the neighborhood, it's a blight, but when a corporation pays for it, it's totally acceptable. If I had a little more time, I'd get some flat grey paint and go cover it up -- and I hope somebody else does. What a disgusting double standard.

Bowery Boogie said...

no, then it's just sanctioned art. i always love seeing graffiti way at the tops of buildings, and thinking that some people risk their lives to put their stamp on the neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Sanctioned graffiti art to me is like rock n'roll––white people making money off of something invented (and usually done better) by blacks and latinos.