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Grafitti and the Issue of Public Art

Essay by Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata
Part of Aesthetics Series
Copyright: July 2000. Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata. "Fair Use" encouraged.

The issue of grafitti is enmeshed in the themes of Dear Habermas through both its link to public art and its link to art and crime. This essay was prompted today by the receipt of an e-mail from Germany with links to German sites. It's been a while since I read German. Roger Gleim, where are you? I'm going to have to get a German-English dictionary. It's been too long for my German-German one to suffice.

The e-mail led me to a number of sites (in German, of course), and I read just well enough to know that these sites do relate to our themes. A quick summary of the themes will help you see the conceptual linkage.

  • Differences in the world of scholarship.
  • Our work had enough of a forum to be recognized. And through that recognition, we now recognize related scholarship in Germany, and elsewhere in the world.

    Earlier this week a book review on the Bryn Mawr Classical Review listserv prompted me to contact a classical scholar (Ancient History, Ancient Greek and Latin Texts). From Greece she e-mailed to share her insights, and add that she had grown up in California! Then James J. O'Donnell e-mailed on how I could make the review available to you through Web links. James J. O'Donell, whose Avatars of the Word we discuss on our site. He's the editor of the Bryn Mawr Classical ReviewSmall world with technology.

    This will take a while. But here is an outline of the issues that wll be addressed:

    • As fine art, pubic art. The Keith Harings of the world.
    • As an approach and understanding to community aesthetics, both as communal and individual activity.
    • Public art as communication. Of individuals seeking some kind of affirmation. Of art in a less formal and controlled atmosphere than the museum and corporate lobbies.
    • As a means of self and community expression. Identity and culture.
    • As an approach to understanding the definition of crime, especially non-violent, non-assaultive concerns with defacing property.
    • As an approach to peacemaking criminology in dealing with adolescents and young adults.
    • As an approach to art history and forums for the presentation of art.
    • As an approach to the study of art criticism in a way that is not structurally violent.

      Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata, June 2000. "Fair Use" encouraged.