4/26/11 La La Land – Beautification, Not Gentrification

Graffiti is comforting to me, I guess, because it was so much part of the environment  when I was very small. I am old enough to recall cocoon-like subway cars three layers thick with various tags or images, fat bubble lettering, Vaughn Bode-inspired imagery before I had even learned who Vaughn Bode was and the like. So, not only can graffiti be visually engaging, it’s comforting. It makes me feel ensconced in the warren.NoRio02web

Eric with tag by Sane, back of ABC No Rio

Eric with tag by Sane, back of ABC No Rio

I seem to recall recently reading something online where commenters argued if graffiti had begun in NYC or Philadelphia. The thing is, I remember being in Egypt once and seeing graffiti scratched into temple walls, stuff like “Sir Francis of Kensington, 1725” or whatever. It had the reverse effect on me from graffiti around here though, because these aristocratic English lunkheads had just sort of chiseled them into the stone with no design or imagination, whereas the actual reliefs and hieroglyphs done in the days of Kemet were the things that were beautiful and painstaking.

Other than that? Despite my ambivalance about the term “outsider art”, I got a complimentary pass from Hyperallergic to the Outsider Art Festival Sunday, which means Eric & I get to go, two-for-one! There’s supposed to be an exhibition of Darger’s work there this year, which is striking to me as we’ve begun to look more at the concepts of the pangender/pandrogyne, and of course he’s got the hermaphroditic Blengin figures. I’ll likely do a write up of this after we go, along with sussing out my confusion on who is and isn’t an “outsider” making art.


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