That’s a beautiful door flanked by some awful graffiti. I’m assuming the netting covering the bust is there to keep it together and prevent pieces from falling on passersby…
John, the netting is here to fight – doves! There excrements destroy the (most probably lime-)stone, and the damage they do in a historic city like Prague is immense.
My own preference is to distinguish the writing of signatures (“tagging”) from the painting of images and posting of printed matter on walls (which I call “graffiti”). Beyond that, there’s the writing (of statements, questions, slogans).
Tagging is very rarely anything more than self-aggrandizing defacement, but the rest I have found often has real merit as art—often more alive than what is hanging in museums.
I had never given any thought to a distinction between tagging and graffiti. I’ve seen graffiti that demonstrates a lot of talent or at least potential. So, I’ll revise my statement above and say “beautiful door flanked by some awful tagging”.
Agree about the distinction between tagging and graffiti. Some of the accomplished graffiti artist are amazing but I still would prefer they be selective in choosing their “canvases” — which many are. One artist need not paint over another’s work.
Playing the devil’s advocate I am these day…
An aspect of graffiti (the good stuff) I like is the impermanence of it all. “wabi sabi” fits it nicely—nothing lasts…
Is the Mona Lisa the finest example, or is it just what survived?
Graffiti can be pieces of art, and they certainly are also part of mostly urban protest culture – sometimes filling the void the only technically oriented way of building presents, sometimes filling older free areas with a new, fresher way of expressing.
Of course protest culture doesn’t ask – otherwise it wouldn’t be protest. But without question many of the meanwhile renowned sprayers (just think of Banksy) wouldn’t deliberately deface a beautiful, lifely wall – at least in the beginning, it were mainly the concrete deserts they were targeting.
But Tyler’s thought of impermanence certainly is interesting, also in regard of respected Art: Ceilings in European Churches as well as canvases were often overpainted, re-used, and sometimes treasures are found in deeper layers. Sometimes, what we appreciate now is just the last layer, and art on the same place has been covered and is lost now.
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