Thursday, April 24, 2008
Graffiti Research Lab: Art Happens
Though the adult in me finds Borf to be a nuisance for the defacement of property, the artist in me has always found his "tags" - on a graphic level - to be very compelling (even if his stuff is a tad derivative of Banksy and Fairy). And there is something in me that wishes I had the chutzpah to do the street art that might be deemed as "destructive." For instance, with the plethora of exhausted fire hydrants in DC I wouldn't see a problem if several of these tripping posts could be adorned with gold leaf (like the icons of city mismanagement that they are). Unfortunately, I think the po-po would find my amused interest otherwise. To this date, apart from the occasional moving violation, I don't have a record... I'd like to keep it that way.
So, we have the Graffiti Research Lab, empowering persons of various persuasions to post non-destructive marks of creative interest on whatever surface they so desire. After all, they can be easily removed and have no permanent effect (or defect) to the surfaces they adorn. They are made with projections, or magnets stuck to metal. In the case of Mark Jenkins - tape.
A philosophy of mine is that "Art Happens." This has two meanings, and both happen outside the gallery environment, which are warehouses of art that has already happened. The first is a transformative experience that occurs when an individual stumbles upon something "out of the ordinary." Typically, the out-of-the-ordinary physical object placed in the environment that forces a person to pause and reflect. Graffiti does this, whether it is classically painted onto a surface (Borf, Basquiat, Banksy or anyone else whose name starts with B) or whether it is a sculpture of tape.
The other way art happens is when we project meaning onto an otherwise mundane object or event. Think: the videos of the floating bag from the movie American Beauty. In either event, if we allow it, Art forces us to engage our perspective of our surroundings: physical, social, aesthetic, etc. It allows us to assess everything between our known knowns and our unknown unknowns.