Kenny Scharf Dissed
Graffiti is an ephemeral art form. Nobody expects an illegal graffiti piece, or even a legally spray painted mural, to last–especially in New York City. Photos last longer than the art itself and that’s one reason I enjoy taking them. I’ve always been a fan of tags and throw ups and because they are underappreciated, I make a special effort to photograph them. A fresh throwie layered over a fading, peeling piece can rejuvenate it.
I was, however, saddened to see Kenny Scharf’s magnificent new mural on Houston Street destroyed. Kenny worked day and night painting in miserable cold and rain earlier this month. He was given spray paint and a lift but not paid. He painted freehand and improvised the design on the spot. One of the dominant characters, a blue face with a red nose referenced a similar face that Kenny had painted on the same wall in 1983–illegally.
I don’t know if the guys who dogged Kenny’s wall thought about any of this or just wanted to get up wherever. For my part, I wish they’d shown a little respect for a hard working artist with established street cred and had allowed the wall to stand for a few months. Much as I admire vandals, I feel these perps were mean-spirited and heartless.You can add to the lively discussion on Animal New York here.