Last week Dabs, Myla and I headed down to San Diego to paint a wall and check out a group exhibition at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art.
I was looking forward to checking out the exhibition especially after seeing the amazing wall Os Gemeos painted on the museums parking structure.
When we arrived, we saw that there was a long line that extending down the street and that the museum was charging $20 per person to view the exhibition. Out of principal I refused to pay to see so called “street art”, and found it annoying that I had to sneak past security to get inside.
Once inside we began to walk around and check out the art work on display. What seemed to be the main room, had a few interesting pieces on display from Swoon, Os Gemeos and others.
Connected to this room was a smaller room that was closed off by a glass door and tightly guarded by security. This was the room where Banksy’s work was on display. I found it amusing that the security was only letting about 15 people into this room at once, for a designated amount of time. Once patrons found their way inside they were met by another security guard that carefully measured the distance viewers were standing from Banksy’s mediocre canvas work. If you got close he’d urge you to step back.
This started to irritate me, but what topped it off was when I saw someone try to take a cell phone pic of one of the Banksy works. The security immediately stepped in and firmly stated that their is to be no photography of any of the work displayed! Are you fucking kidding me? Someone like Da’Vinci has been dead for hundreds of years, yet you are able to go to more respectable museums and take pictures of his masterpieces. Work that is genius, irreplaceable, and done with hand crafted skill.
Yeah Banksy’s work is amusing and is interesting to look at (much like spinn-offs found on Hot Topic T-shirt racks). I have to admit that Banksy must spend hours skillfully photoshopping bananas into Vince & Jule’s hands. Like mad talent..
I guess I tend favor artwork that’s made directly from imagination without the support of a one to one reference or guide. Creating copies from clip art or trace replication has never been something that impressed me. It’s like gathering references for a research paper in college. A professor requires that you use three of more sources when writing your thesis. If it is found out that you pulled the majority of your conclusions from one source you would be accused of plagiarism. How much of a reference can you use before it is considered a copy? Does tracing and reworking an established photo in illustrator give you the right to credit the art work as your own?
This is all debatable and can be a real touchy subject to some. I guess it’s just old fashioned of me to expect more from successful gallery artists. I can go on and on about this but I have some miles to drive and painting to do.
* Presenting Keith Haring with a spray can is as odd as highlighting Michael Jordan by presenting him with a baseball and bat.