Cardboard Castles and Other Amenities...

I am really interested in using different forms of cultural action to help build better communities. Communities are a vital social model, allowing us to tackle problems beyond the ability of individuals with the focus of a defined (usually relatively small) group of people. How do the arts and cultural work in general help communities grow more sustainable futures? If you have a cool website or project or your own ideas on these subjects please let me know.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Public Art Gets A Little Protection

Public artist, Kent Twitchell, just settled a lawsuit over the destruction of his mural of the artist Ed Ruscha. Twitchell sued under the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA), which is intended “to prevent any destruction of a work of recognized stature.” The settlement included the building’s owner and the Department of Labor, and was for 1.1 million dollars.

Although I am a huge fan of protecting public art and other forms of free expression, especially since we are often forced communicate with each other through private property or space. I think it is unfortunate how society defines “work of recognized stature.” It is sad that we continue to destroy certain forms of street art, which are produced without permission. The right to use public spaces for personal expression is a key issue. By label certain forms of public art “vandalism,” the government forces artists seeking public legitimacy to ask permission of the state in order to publicly express themselves. And how free is free-speech if you have to ask permission before you do it?

(Photo Credit: Walker Art Center)

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