The Museum of the City of New York’s current exhibit “City As Canvas” features photography of graffiti from the 70′s and 80′s and the work of artists such AS Keith Haring and Lee Quiñones. The show has been up since February, but Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is still angry about it, the Wall Street Journal reports.
“I find it outrageous that one of the city’s museums is currently celebrating graffiti and what a great impact it had on the city,” Commissioner William Bratton said Monday during a meeting with Wall Street Journal editors.
Mr. Bratton further objected to “having New York City school kids at the impressionable age of 12 years old walking through looking at this stuff and having it advertised as ‘Isn’t this great?’ “
City Museum’s director Susan Henshaw Jones told the WSJ, “We are not in the business of trying to encourage children, teenagers, grown-ups or elders to do graffiti.”
“The young people who invented this style didn’t have access to art supplies,” Jeffrey Deitch, whose graffiti show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles caused similar controversy, said. “They didn’t have a garage at home where they could work on canvases. They had the streets.”
The Post, which owns the WSJ, ran an opinion piece yesterday criticizing the exhibit. The sensationalist article by Nicole Gelinas warned that the show will have a dangerous affect on young people who are seeing a “glamorized” version of what Gelinas considers artless crime. She would likely agree with Bratton’s support of “broken windows” policing, which has seen him cracking down on minor crimes like illegal subway dancers. He has equated graffiti with gang violence, saying, “the gangs, the crews if you will, use [graffiti] to spread messages.” (Photo: Getty, Metro)