In the spirit of the game, KATSU, known for tagging with a fire extinguisher, who allegedly tagged outside of the White House, left his mark on (not in) the LA MOCA… but unfortunately it didn’t last long. It was only hours before Deitch and his control system were there to buff over the piece. With security guards on the premise, KATSU started hitting up the outside wall, and walked away from the scene with no problem in site.
Why should there be any suspicion? He looks like just the rest of the graffiti artists that have been walking in and out of that place for the last several weeks in preparation for the opening of “Art in the Streets”. Artists like the Os Gemeos twins and other big names have been designated those walls, but you can’t have a street art and graffiti show without someone doing something illegal! Maybe KATSU is saying: put it in a gallery, put it in a museum, it doesn’t really matter, it was sprung from the loins of the street, and married with the adrenaline power that made getting up illegally more fun than doing your homework, or anything else for that matter.
Don’t get me wrong, it is wonderful to have a such a show with a solid amount of respected graffiti and street artists in a highly held institution. The idea is to look at graffiti and street art in the museum setting and to have the mass majority understand its past and its significance as an art movement. The bottom line is that most people didn’t like graffiti, they were scared of it, and didn’t understand it. One of the exciting things that I believe draws people to graffiti and street art is the excitement of the unknown, the thrill of seeing a beautiful piece on your city block, and the idea of what the person had to go through to put it there illegally. Now that it is becoming more acceptable people are changing their minds, appreciating street art, understanding it, and most definitely buying it. To those in question, this show will certainly shed a much deserved light on the impact that graffiti and street art has made on generations of people around the world. But, it is humorous when people like Deitch put on a show about the art movement that started in the streets, and then completely ban, buff, and slightly betray the originality of the movement itself. Simmer down Deitch, if it wasn’t for half the people in your show, and numerous ones not included, who tagged the shit out of cities all over the world, you wouldn’t be where you are today.
More coverage of the LA MOCA’s “Art in the Streets” next week.