"Do you think that hip-hop would be an appropriate area for NEA to fund?" I inquired.I agree. Graffiti art shouldn't be ignored... by the police!
"Absolutely. And mural painting and graffiti are art. There are popular aspects of all the arts that I think shouldn't be ignored."
Graffiti is not art. It's vandalism.
If Mr. Landesman had grown up in a graffiti-covered neighborhood like I did perhaps he would understand just how demoralizing it is to see property constantly defaced by, what my grandmother called, hoodlums. Giving these "artists" tax payer money to ruin the lives of other tax payers borders on sadistic.
I grew up in Philadelphia, across the street from a textile factory. Each time I sat on my front steps (a popular pastime in the inner city), from pre-school until I finally left at age 20, I was forced to stare at an ever-evolving collage of cartoon figures, trendy phrases and love messages.
During the height of "Good Times" popularity, one of the taggers spray painted the word "Dynomite" directly across from our house. Only he spelled it "Dnyomite." To this day, whenever I think of my childhhood, the word "Dnyomite" pops into my head. And Jimmie JJ Walker thinks he has problems!
Mid-way through second grade, the under-12 crowd all moved into a brand new state-of-the-art elementary school. It didn't take long before our beautiful building was defaced by taggers. A year or two later, somebody got the bright idea to hire mural artists to paint a woodland scene (perfect for city kids) on one of the walls.
I suppose the "graffiti artists" were supposed to so admire the work of their fellow painters that they would lay down their spray cans out of respect. Oh, how proud the adults were at the unveiling!
Do I really have to tell you what happened?
By the end of the weekend, the deer had obscene thought bubbles over their heads. So, the mural artists came back with their paint cans to fix their work.
Several days later, the deer were wearing spray painted sunglasses.
More fixing. More tagging. No doubt all taking place on the taxpayers' dime.
Eventually, the taggers won. Even the nine-year-olds could see that one coming.
If the NEA has its over-funded head so far up its pretentious ass that it thinks doling out cash to criminals with a flair for the dramatic is a good idea, then it's time for the dismantling of this organization.
As an artist, I would love to see it happen. That would be dnyomite.