Art in the Streets, Part Deux

The Art in the Streets exhibit is still at the Geffen Contemporary.  I walked through it again and realized I have mixed feelings about street art.

I live in a solid working/middle class African American/Latino neighborhood.  Three gated communities two blocks away.  Older home/condos on my side with a few rentals.

I’ve got the graffiti removal phone number on speed dial.  So before I beat myself up for being a hypocrite, I thought I’d tease out my thoughts.

When is street art cool?

Sorry but I don’t believe that gang tags are art.  At all.  Ever. They are messages that invite problems and signal a lack of care and respect.

I think there need to be some kind of understanding/dialogue/connection between the artist and community.  At least some of the graffiti in my neighborhood has been traced to outsiders.  Doesn’t work.  You don’t live here.  You don’t have stake in how it goes. Matters of taste are challenging. I love political art but many of my neighbors don’t.

And I’m not sure about this but I think you need a cohesive community for street art to work.  It’s not about wealth.  There are sections of East LA that have amazing street art and public murals.

Some open lots in Watts actually look less like death with street art.

That feels a lot different than this:

I’m an artist so it has to be good 🙂





About liftingasweclimb

Mildred Lewis writes and directs for theater, television, film and the web. She's also a full time professor, Christian, activist and troublemaker with a passion to save as much of the world as she can.
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