Park City paper says vandalism can never be art

Photo by Barnaby

The Park City Record, the local paper in Park City, printed an editorial this week in reaction to Banksy’s recent painting spree there. I think I can see what they were getting at, and they could have made some great points (in fact, they correctly noted that Banksy’s artworks were essentially guerrilla advertising for Exit Through The Gift Shop), but then they didn’t. And by that, I mean they wrote something which was so outdated and wrong-headed that they pretty much made everything else they wrote pointless. They wrote “But let’s be clear. Graffiti is art when it is invited, and it is vandalism when it is not.”

Really? Do people still think like that? Even when Neas was sentenced to prison for his graffiti in 2008, the judge commented that Neas has artist talent.

Here’s what I wrote as a comment on the Park City Record’s website:

You might think graffiti is never art, or that it is generally or always bad art, and although I would disagree with you, we could at least debate the topic rationally, but your position isn’t even logical. If the Mona Lisa had been painted on somebody’s front door without permission, that might annoy the property owner, but that wouldn’t stop the painting from being a great work of art. Art is art no matter where or how it is made. Of course, graffiti that is painted without permission is also vandalism. But why can’t it be both art and vandalism at the same time? You had the chance to make some great points with this article, and then you suggested that something can only be either art or vandalism, not both, and now I can’t take anything in this editorial seriously.

Simply put… how can there still be educated and intelligent people who don’t grasp that something can be both art and vandalism simultaneously?

Via Banksy Prints