Yes or No: “Graffiti” in Galleries by Jason Powell
March 28, 2008, 1:21 pm
Filed under: YES OR NO?


Drama in the local art scene! Tonight is the closing party for the Arlington Arts Center‘s Collector’s Select show, in which the AAC invited six local art collectors to each curate a gallery as they see fit. Local collector Philippa Hughes invited some local graffiti artists to create murals in the gallery she was assigned, but this didn’t sit too well with Kriston Capps in this piece for the Washington City Paper. Capps questions the difference between curators and collectors (“…curating requires a skill set, whereas collecting is mostly a product of circumstance and inclination”), the edginess of exhibiting so-called street art in a hermetically sealed gallery space (“a door that’s been open for nearly three decades”), and even the formal qualities of the burners on display (“as tags, they’re not particularly intricate or witty; as abstraction, they don’t offer much”). Then Capps’ fellow WCP writer Jeffry Cudlin (who also just so happens to be the Director of Exhibitions at the AAC) tore apart those points one by one on his own blog, although not without a little pre-emptive asskissing (“as far as intelligent local art writing in print media, he’s the only game in town”). Capps, of course, posted the obligatory rebuttal/defense here, but both sides raise interesting questions. What do you think about graffiti in galleries? About the cult of youth and street culture? About the DC art scene in general?


6 Comments so far
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Many of graffiti ppl are TRUE artists. Too bad thought that the cities’ officials don’t create legal spaces where they can express themselves. This way they HAVE TO use some other walls / trains to do it. Many of them also do real paintings with oil colors and all that painting involves.

Comment by Romanian Graffiti

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Pingback by Yes: Wreckfest @ Tiffany’s « YESORNODC

I say right on!
I guess it took graffitti in a Gallery to get an article about contemporary art. This cyber-brawl, as respectful as it may try to be (asskissing comment), was very much needed in this DC Art Context.

What do I think about the DC Art Scene in General?

I think that DC needs to be more integrated.

By that I mean, who ever throws shows in at the AAC attracts a certain set of groups, if Dissident Display Gallery in North East throws a show, another group does, and the same at the Martin Irvine Contemporary.

It took me about a year and a half just to get to understand the DC Metro Art Scene and I know I haven’t hit all the spots yet.

However, hitting the spots is very different than getting a show.

I’ve only been able to thrive at the National Museum of Women in the Arts trough a Carnegie Mellon Curator, but have yet to install my entire art piece because it incorporates too much time, space and literally, electrical energy.

I wish we had an Eye Beam in DC, or a New Museum. We need a huge performing art space dedicated to New Media and Experimental works.

Sort of like but DC.

If we are to make DC anything like paris, we need to support the contemporary arts as well as those art institutions that support the work of mainly dead artists.

Comment by Zulma Aguiar

i dont claim to know a damn thing about art other than what appeals to me, and to me, thats what really matters. but i do like graffiti in galleries where it might make some people think of it in a different way than an eyesore. there is some amazing street art out there, but it is its nature to be guerrilla and ephemeral. i also think that making it a commodity and/or having designated spaces for it kind of undermines what it is.

at any rate, the show was good. i saw some people who i dont think would have looked at graffiti as art there, which is good. i had fun and it seemed like most in attendance did.

Comment by dano

Of course it belongs. Just like “pop-up stores” are real stores. Loved the show, glad to see street culture is thriving in DC.

Comment by Gillian

[…] a twist on the does-graf-belong-in-a-gallery question mentioned in this post about last week’s Wreckfest show: does graffiti belong on walls where the County of Los […]

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