Saturday, September 27, 2008

Post No Bills, Get No Thrills

sink or swim with swampstyle

As a young artist in the seventies, there was something about growing up in Miami that hounded me. Natural splendor aside, it was the blandness, it was that little voice in my head that kept saying, "get the heck out of the swamp". So I moved away and in visiting mayor metropolitan cities soon realized how deficient my hometown was with regard to the substance of urban life. There was little diversity of people, little access to cultural material, isolation for fringe thinkers, and no people nor art in the streets. For me, graffiti and even posting of bills is synonymous with a healthy substantial visual culture of our modern urban society. Sure there are aspects of the phenomenon that are cause for pause, but counterculture style has been appropriated and commercialized for mass consumption, wildstyle sells. From Paris to NY to Minneapolis and Mexico City, from Bombay India to Bogota Colombia, most mayor world-class urban centers are rich with unsanctioned visual manifestations of their inhabitants aesthetic. But not Miami of 2008. We still have this backward notion that the cityscape must be greige and void of visual vitality. Officials have a long standing disdain for anything resembling graffiti. But they have no problem with the visual pollution resulting from too many billboards street-signs and Brittos.

Another new billboard frame completed.

It is perfectly lucrative to capitalize on prime real estate by leasing the side of your building to the billboard people like media hog ClearChannel. The county is ok with that because it adds to the revenue stream. They are not so concerned with the changing content of the ads.

But if you allow some enthusiastic young artist to paint murals on your building without compliance with the county Sign Ordinance, and if the style of the work is urban inspired, then you can expect a visit from the local anti-graffiti task force. According to one source from the writers community, the county is spending big bucks to go after all non-permitted public works of expression with a vengeance for anything that even resembles graffiti.
One artist said if you can't finish a mural in one day, don't even start it because you get busted when you go back to finish.

Art Rumor #1:
Shed a Tear for Krylon
Marti Margulies local giant in the art world is battling with officials over the murals painted by young artists including his son. The county wants him to get rid of this amazing artwork because of some imaginary anonymous complaints. The building that houses his collection is very visible from I-95. The commission does not appreciate Margulies vocal/failed opposition to another taxpayer funded mega-museum. If they are in court, I hope Marti' lawyers open up a can of whoopasskrylon.

Murals at the Margulies building

Metro-Dade lists reasons to battle graffiti and any mural that does not comply with the Sign Ordinance. Controlling graffiti is necessary since it has been proven to:

Cause a decline in property values. Attract criminals into the neighboring areas. Discourage businesses from relocating into areas. Cause residents to hesitate about moving into areas. Costs to the County, residents, and businesses are extremely high. Property owners are responsible for maintaining their residential property or common area graffiti free, including walls and fences that are visible from the public right-of-way, mailboxes, etc. Property owners must remove graffiti from commercial buildings, vehicles, trash dumpsters, and other commercial property. Miami-Dade County has the authority to paint over graffiti that is on a wall or fence that abuts the right-of-way without prior notice to the property owner.

I guess the housing market crash, ballooning property taxes, corrupt gov, jeb's cronies, guzzlin hummers and buses plastered with ads don't have the same effect.

An unfinished mural....ooooh creepy, but cool.

Another unfinished mural.... props to Miller Machinery.

When you have an hour to kill:
Miami Graffiti has the definitive comprehensive list of writers, tagers, bombers and wanabees.

Art Rumor #2:
Kaws for Alarm

It appears that they disappeared.. that two small painting by graffiti artist Kaws aka Brian Donnelly were stolen from his current show at Emmanuel Perrotin Gallery. The perps will not be able to sell them and have attracted the attention of the FBI as it is a federal offense to peddle stolen artworks. If you have any information, post a comment.


1 comment:

  1. I personally love all the street art around Miami... I think it gives it far more character than the signs hanging off buildings, many tied with ropes (unsightly to anyone else?) and flapping in the wind.