Thursday, March 19, 2009

Yoshitomo Nara Arrested, I Don't Know How to Feel

I'm not one of those people who thinks everything should be covered with graffiti. Sometimes graffiti is awesome and great, and waiting for the bus is a lot less boring if you're looking at something by Banksy. But isn't most graffiti lame and ugly? Are taggers really graffiti "artists?"

So I was conflicted when I heard that famed Japanese pop artist Yoshitomo Nara was arrested and spent the night in jail after being caught doodling on a Brooklyn subway platform while waiting for the L-train. We have whole classes devoted to the practice of public art, which is a much larger conversation. Also a larger conversation: should the NYPD be stopping to ask themselves "But is it art?"

But I can't help but feel like a little magic is lost when art is whitewashed over and confined to small, enclosed spaces. The rigid definition of what is and isn't an appropriate forum for art takes some of the spontaneity and joy out of the process.

Plus, that platform would have been worth a ton of money.


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