Hi Vandalog readers, it’s Elisa here (yup, it’s been a while). Just wanted to update you all, in case you hadn’t heard yet, that Poster Boy‘s upcoming show at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, which was set to open on September 15, has been cancelled/censored due to the illegal nature of his street work. I hung out with PB recently and know that he was not only looking forward to this opportunity, but was working very hard for it. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have much respect for censorship in the art world, no matter what the reason is. Not only has there been too much of it recently, it only seems to be getting worse and to put it crudely, makes this whole business, world or whatever you want to call it, look ridiculous.
Galleries, museums, institutions, general public: don’t say you want art if you’re just going to turn around and try to pretend it doesn’t exist, simply because you have an issue with it. Nobody can possibly like or approve of the work of every artist in the world – I certainly don’t – but that’s no reason to invite one to present what they do and believe in, then whitewash their wall, cancel their show, or attempt to stifle their voice. On the upside, of course, with people like Blu, Poster Boy, Ai Weiwei and the countless other artists who have suffered from this treatment recently or in the past, all it does is strengthen and help to spread their message.
Poster Boy is an interesting case when it comes to institutional censorship as he doesn’t often exhibit his work indoors and when he does, the focus is on spreading his views on the advertising industry, rather than profit off the artwork itself. Here are his thoughts on the situation, via the Hartford Courant:
“The main point of the show was to reach people and to bring awareness to the sort of visual pollution we see advertising to be and the whole hypocrisy behind being able to put advertising up yet street art and graffiti is illegal,” he said. “When the media gets a hold of it the fact that this was censored and cancelled, more people will hear about it, more people will be forced to think about what the work stands for and what Poster Boy stands for. Whether they agree with it or not it will definitely reach a lot more people.”
He said he had been looking forward to the show because “it’s a controlled setting, without someone looking over me or having to look over my shoulder for police officers. … That gives the artist involved a little more time to showcase maybe some flair or go in a little more depth than is usually gone into with subway pieces, which are completely improv with only a razor.”
Anyway, like everything else in life, this is open to interpretation and I’m sure everyone here at Vandalog would be interested in your opinion. Personally, I find it a bit hard to understand why an artist’s show would be cancelled due to the illegal nature of some of their work. Last time I checked, a lot of graffiti and street artists have had gallery shows. Conservatism like this makes me sick.
Image via Poster Boy’s Flickr