Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Graffiti Story

Just about everywhere you go in urban Germany....graffiti is now a problem.  Just in the city of Wiesbaden (285,000 residents), I'd take a guess that at least 3,000 examples of graffiti art exist (not even counting the little 10-second marking of various buildings which is even more common).

Some of the art is fairly decent.  Some have a message or theme.  Some simply note a cartoon-like character in a pose.  Some, I would classify as art, and some that I'd just admit is trash-like drawings with nothing of value.

Today, I noted in Berlin news a new problem with the graffiti world, but it was one that I kept expecting to occur sooner or later.

Some people (big culture VIPs).....often want to give a leg up to some artists and allow them to paint a valued piece for the community.  It'll often be something with a message which is approved.  So around 20-odd years ago, in some Berlin subway platform area....the city gave permission for some graffiti art to be drawn.

The theme?  Nazi-Germany, dead Jews, murder, immortal words.

This was in the Westhafen subway tunnel.

This week....some graffiti artist decided that it was time to put graffiti on top of graffiti, and he painted a fairly extensive piece.  RBB covered a good portion of the story and had pictures.

A lot of negative commentary came out of this event.  There are supposed rules about real art graffiti and this was a violation of those to paint over the experts say.

So far, there is no law written down to cover something like this....painting over the top of previous graffiti.  I doubt if you could make any kind of law which would stand up in court.  Graffiti survives only because there are no laws.

The thing about this is that it might start a new trend where graffiti is openly painted over the top of and continually telling a different message by the artist to a different view.  Whatever existed in perception in 1990.....could be seen in a totally different way today.

Sitting around some cafe today are two or three guys....discussing the Westhafen episode....and intense dialog is underway about the meaning of this art painted over the top of the Nazi-Germany piece, and perhaps the suggestion that a 3rd graffiti piece is necessary now to retell the artist image in yet another way....over the top of the new graffiti.  Things might get interesting, if you ask me.

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