I’ve always thought the visual presence of disobediance was an indication of a functioning, healthy city. Too much is obviously bad, but too little is also disturbing. Graffiti, and other sorts of non-violent expression, indicates a certain amount of vibrant contrarian thinking and improvised, unauthorial artistic expression. This balance between authority (planner/designer) and improvisation (participant/user) was the driving force behind some of my earliest architectural projects.
So it is with a certain amount of disappointment, dismay, and resignation that I heard about the graffiti cleanup that is occuring right now along the new High Line in New York. I have mixed feelings about DS+R and Field Operations‘ design for the High Line, despite my high regard for both firms (I feel like there were better proposals from other firms), and I’ve written a little about the High Line before, but it is sad to me that there is still a lack of discussion in the public sphere about the merits of this sort of “street art,” despite the efforts of a few high-profile artists over a few generations now: Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat in the 70s and 80s, but more recently Banksy, Dash Snow, and other contemporary “graffiti artists.”
I guess the best we can hope for at this point is that somebody does document what is literally being painted over as we speak.
Via A/N Blog.