Wednesday, July 26, 2017

SF Weekly enables vandalism---again


The SF Weekly has a long history of enabling the graffiti/tagging vandalism going back to at least 2006 (Writing His Future). 

Then there was Coverup worse than crime? S.F. outspends other cities fighting graffiti, arguing that it was a waste of money for the city to discourage this vandalism. 


The current edition of SF Weekly continues that destructive tradition with a front page story on the late Aaron Curry, aka "ORFN," who vandalized the Bay Area for 25 years:

He was one of the most prolific graffiti writers in Bay Area history, and for decades, you couldn’t walk a few blocks without seeing one of ORFN’s innocent, baby-faced characters sporting a smile next to one of his meticulously dated tags. (ORFN: A Life Under Shadows)

A New York vandal/"artist" pays tribute to Curry:

“The New York style of writing had a moment,” he says. “It had probably a 20-year moment, but really, ORFN ushered in this very important, naive-but-knowing style of drawing, and drawing with spray paint. It was cool, because ORFN could have been a ‘street artist,’ but he was way cooler than that.

It's fitting that the vandals themselves describe their juvenile enterprise in the language of children. Curry's work was "cooler" than that of merely "cool" street artists, those run-of-the-mill vandals.

It’s impossible to talk about graffiti without making at least a few people upset — particularly those whose property has been tagged — and it’s arguably the most vilified form of artistic expression. But there’s also no denying that sectors of the “legitimate” art world have been trying to capture its essence since the days of Keith Haring. The catch-22 is that once graffiti is condoned, it ceases to be what it is (or was).

The city of San Francisco is among those who are "upset," as the Dept. of Public Works toils full time dealing with this vandalism.

Naturally, other former vandals who made good---Keith Haring and Michel Basquiat---are invoked.

As the city spends millions fighting this bogus art genre, SF Moma enables it:

“I have an enormous amount of respect for him, more for the approach, the dedication and the discipline. If anything, it was his work ethic and his dedication to his own visual vocabulary,” [Alicia]McCarthy says. Her SECA Award exhibit this month isn’t the first time she’s included his work in one of her shows, and she says she always felt honored when he’d allow her to show his pieces.

I was surprised that Los Angeles beat San Francisco to the punch by staging a graffiti/tagging exhibition years before we did.

Another former vandal who made good is invoked:

Barry McGee has been a contemporary of ORFN’s since the late ’90s. An example of someone who successfully pivoted from hardcore graffiti to high-priced fine art — he also received a SECA award and is in the permanent collection at SFMOMA — without losing his street cred, McGee, who made his bones writing TWIST, sees ORFN as the real deal.

Recall that former District 5 Supervisor Matt Gonzalez had McGee vandalize his office walls in City Hall in a Great Moment in Local Vandalism.

The now defunct Bay Guardian was also an enabler. Political editor Tim Redmond thought this vandalism "gives the city a nice flavor."


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