Friday, July 06, 2007
Art clashes with the authorities under the Spooner Street bridge. Authorities make the art disappear.
Is graffiti art or is it vandalism? In New York and other big cities, it's a trendy form of street art, there are art galleries devoted to graffiti, and graffiti artists have become millionaires. As far as I know, there are no Madison taggers who have become rich from their art. Much of the public despises them as vandals who should be punished. Like most long-standing controversies, both sides have a point. The real question is, where do you draw the line? The city drew the line -- or rather, removed the lines -- under the Spooner Street bridge over the Southwest Bike Path Thursday morning.
We were biking along the path when we saw what looked from a distance like an emergency vehicle under the bridge. Was there a problem? As we drew closer, we saw what the problem was. I was sorry to see the figures painted over. They added a humanizing touch and a much needed light touch of whimsy to a sterile concrete bridge that totally overwhelms the casual, organic environment of the bike path. They weren't there long, and I'll miss them.