Wednesday, April 23, 2008

issue 5 like what

Issue 5 of InDigest is up and online. So listen up best of the net. Maybe the first four weren't good enough for your hotsy totsy awards, but, oh, is Issue 5 something special. In the new issue we've got a gallery of sculpture from Alonso Sierralta, new poetry from Meggie Elder, and new fiction from New Yorkian Meakin Armstrong. We've added a new column called Is That Cowardly? where Jess Grover takes a look at new poetry. Also there are new columns from Bedside Stacks and Dorkolopogous.

Our big news, aside from the new issue, is we went clothes shopping and now we've got a whole new look. And damn we look good. Look at us.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Vandalism as art

So I'm in the process of getting a new post up of the neighborhood, but the day after I started we had a 17 hour blizzard that I didn't have the urge to go out in. Anyhow this is one of the new pieces I found and I thought it was interesting. It's a rather small stencil, but I think the label "Vandalism as Art" is an interesting statement.

I use the label "Street Art" often (it's in the name of the blog too), but this is something of a misnomer. The label street art is attractive because a lot of what is considered vandalism is art. There are some very talented artists roaming the alleys of the city, yet there are probably even more people doing this who are not artists, and there tags are for the sole purpose of vandalism. Street art is a difficult label, it implies that all of the tags, stickers, and markers on bus stops and news stands are art. Furthermore it's more expansive than it appears on the surface. I think by this label much more than just graffiti, stencils and pastes can be considered street art. The common argue for the rights of street art is that it beautifies the city in a way that is somewhat intangible, it allows artists to use the city and speak to it, and it's much more attractive than the billboards and advertisements that we allow to take up the same space in our city. But if street art is the appropriate label then it would be anything that beautifies the city and exemplifies a sort of artistic craftsmanship. By this definition I think my neighbors garden is street art, it's an odd overgrown garden that extends out onto the boulevard, but it has a great aesthetic, one that you would hard pressed to find in any other garden.

Another common label is vandalism. This is problematic for many reasons, though some street artists do like this label. But it negates the aesthetic powers of graffiti. Clearly. There are other issues with this, but I think the are self-evident, this is the label that people who do not like street art use.

But the phrase "Vandalism as art," though somewhat bulky for practical application is a great phrase. It acknowledges the vandalism aspects of the art form. Which are completely true and relevant. In Minneapolis any building that gets tagged is noted by the city and the owner of the building has three days to sign a waiver that states that it can and will be removed or the city removes it and fines the building owner. This is vandalism, no doubt. But the phrase "Vandalism as Art" acknowledges that, and further acknowledges that it is art (obviously). the interesting aspect of this phrase is the juxtaposition of these two sentiments. It shows the colliding of POVs, and seems to define it while simultaneously stating that the problem with the labels people have for this art are not in the art itself but in the government (or other minor governing body's) inability to classify it. That those who appreciate it's presence don't have the issue of labeling it, it is what it is, but that there is a stigma surrounding the art-form that makes it near impossible for there to be a classification that suits everyone, and points to a greater inability to have an open discussion at a governmental level between citizens, artists, and the government (I guess more pointed the law). It is more eloquent than my description here. But an interesting piece. Anyhow, a full post is pending.