Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Graffiti Wednesday - Our Town
"Our Town" by Kerry James Marshall
As previously posted we went on a road trip to Bentonville, Arkansas to see the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. There were of course lots of great art there by famous artists, there were many works by artists that I am not familiar with. The above work caught my attention for several reasons. First, there is no frame, it is on canvas but is not stretched into a frame. I have no idea of the significance of that but it is different.
Second, there is a lot of tension in the work, nice houses with yards and birds bearing ribbons and a nice cheery title on one hand and on the other the two kids seem angry about something. The boy is glaring at the girl who looks like she is on an angry mission and she has thought bubble popping out of her head going to one of the houses.
Third, there appears to be graffiti to the left of the boy. Overall things don't seem to be all that great in the photo and much of that tension is due to the graffiti. The piece overall made me think a lot and try and resolve things in my head and figure it all out. I don't know much about art but I am not one who thinks that art is just one thing. Some art is relaxing and makes me think relaxing thoughts. Some art inspires, other makes me angry, and some art makes me think. Art can be a lot of different things. This piece made me think.
Graffiti has a way of upsetting and unsettling things, it certainly does me in certain settings such as neighborhoods and office areas. Graffiti in hard to get to drainage ditches doesn't bother me at all, nor does graffiti in Tulsa's only "permission zone" (that I know about) doesn't either. If only it were that simple? Since I started posting about graffiti I now see it everywhere.
To me that there is an interesting parallel between graffiti and my hobby geocaching. They both appropriate public spaces for unintended uses. One difference is that graffiti is meant to display and be seen where geocachers seek to hide their work from the general public (aka "muggles.") Another difference is that most people are ok with geocaching (except for some bomb squad units in various towns and cemetery managers in South Carolina) but are not ok with graffit.
You can read about Kerry James Marshall by hitting the link. He is a very interesting guy.