The New York Times has taken note today of the arrest last Thursday of a guy who may turn out to be “the Splasher”, or one of them, the mysterious character (or characters) who have been defacing street art around New York by splashing it with paint. And yes, I’m aware that street art, since it consists of posters and paintings on public walls, could be considered as vandalism to begin with. But at least some of it is better than a lot of what I see in galleries.
The motive behind the attacks? Pretty much what you would expect, resentment that some street artists, like Swoon and Shepard Fairey, to say nothing of that Brit prankster Banksy, are making their way into the gallery system. Better them I would say than John Currin. Also resentment that street art poses as a critique of a capitalist system it’s actually just one more part of. The same could be said of course about street art vandalizers who publish 16 page manifestos. Capitalism is a pretty flexible device, and it absorbs most critiques handily. Street art won’t change that. And neither will the people who deface it.
Meanwhile, if you’re interested in seeing more street art, the best place to start is here.