Trouble with some “young taggers who are anarchic”

Invader inside of MOCA for Art in the Streets

As I mentioned yesterday, the LAPD and LA residents are getting their feathers all ruffled because street artists and graffiti writers have been getting up in LA a lot over the last week or so, particularly in the Little Tokyo neighborhood where MOCA’s Art in the Streets show is located. When asked about this activity, museum director Jeffrey Deitch told Culture Monster that it could be attributed to, “some of the young taggers who are anarchic…. It’s a language of youth culture, and we can’t stop it. It goes with the territory.” Well, as I also pointed out yesterday, those young taggers include some of the most established artists in Art in the Streets (including Barry McGee and Shepard Fairey). Well now it looks like two artists (most likely Invader and an assistant) have been arrested (correction: detained but not arrested) for putting up some work in Little Tokyo. The two suspected vandals have French passports, and they “were each carrying plastic buckets and inside there was glue or grout, plastering equipment and tiles.” That sounds like Invader to me, whose art is part of Art in the Streets (see photo above), but nobody has confirmed that it was Invader so this is just speculation on my part. If Invader and a friend do get arrested, I wonder if MOCA will bail them out…

Sure, Deitch is trying to be diplomatic by calling street artists anarchic taggers, but I find it a bit insulting. Yes, a museum exhibit of street art and graffiti is going to lead to an increase in street art and graffiti near the museum, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I just wish Deitch could try to put a positive spin on the new street art in Little Tokyo. As it is, he sounds a bit absurd celebrating street artist who have moved their art indoors and dissing street art when it appears outdoors, its rightful location.

Anyway, good luck to Invader, or whichever Frenchmen were arrested (correction: detained) for suspected vandalism.

Photo by helhimchee