Black fluent is the language of the unheard… Vanishing Points

28 Oct

My first museum visit in Miami ( outside of the University) was quite a treat. After enduring two weeks of on and off again hurricane weather, I decided that it was time to stop letting the rain control my plans. Miami thrives on outdoor activities, so I really had to think of something to “stick it” to the rain.  On a particularly rainy afternoon, I remembered reading about the Vanishing Points exhibit at the Bass Museum of Art. I knew it was going to be closing soon, so I decided to go and I’m happy I did.

Admission was $6 for students which was a significant discount from the ridiculously elevated New York admission fees. I was immediately drawn to the multicolored striped ramp leading up to the exhibit. The ramp reminded me of candy stripes out of a Willy Wonka movie, and I encountered a little girl rolling around on the floor,  an oompa loompa, if you will. She must have been no more than three years old and was critiquing the colors of the pathway (“the pink is just the right size!” she exclaimed). Already I knew this was a child friendly spot.

Plus one, Bass.

Up the ramp I went and immediately encountered a giant print. The first element I noticed was the splatter of red, white, and aqua on the hazy black and white photo. Upon closer look, I realized that the photo was of some young black men being beaten by a white police officer, probably during the Civil Rights era. The juxtaposition of the fun and colorful splatter on such a heavy picture was provocative. The title Aquafresh with Crest Whitening perhaps alluded to society’s inclination toward white citizens at the expense of minorities. Either way, the painting has a strangely modern feel to it, despite the historical significance and the (dare I say) lighthearted splatter in the foreground.

Kelley Walker “Aquafresh Plus Crest With Whitening”

I was only halfway up the ramp, so I continued up the candy striped lane, running right into a crushed Fiat car painted bright pink.  Mounted on the wall, it was absolutely smashed from top to bottom as if someone had dropped a giant weight on the roof. I’m not sure what the artist was trying to get at, but I found it eye-catching nonetheless.

The next room was mainly black and white pieces hung amid a wall spray-painted with a design motif. This was a piece in and of itself. I liked it. I wonder how my landlord would react if I spray painted the walls using stencils instead of wallpaper. Doubt it would fly. My favorite work in the room was a black placard sign with “Black fluent is the language of the unheard.” This message was also in black which you could imagine would be hard to read from a distance, but the difficulty in understanding somehow added to the piece. Black people’s voices, expecially when expressed in Ebonics, are rarely considered, thus these citizens are usually “left in the dark.” How very clever, Adler Guerrier.  Unfortunately I couldn’t find an image online, but  that’s why you should go in person.

Turning into the next room, I was a little disoriented. I could not figure out an overarching theme for this display of works. One was colorful and kalidescope-like, three others had muted grays and blues, while a few more had intersecting spatial planes that made one question how space was to be interpreted.  So many outliers.

In retrospect, I think this is where I began to understand why the name “Vanishing Points” was chosen for the show . The exhibit was created to showcase artistic interpretations such as spirituality and religious experiences and to comment on the fact that our digital world has “become flattened by networks.” Vanishing points, I believe, was an appropriate title because the inspiration for a piece can often “vanish” when a viewer encounters a work and interprets its meaning. Regardless of what the original meaning of the work was, one’s imagination inevitably takes over and interprets a work to fit in with his/her schema. If the exhibit was named “Dogs,” perhaps I could have identified some canine element in each piece. I think that by making the name of the exhibit open-ended, it forced the viewer to question how and if the pieces fit together.   In this exhibit, my imagination really had to work hard to create a story for each piece because each was so uniquely different from the next.

But back to the art itself, not its name.

Francesca DiMattio’s pieces warped the intersection of space and stressed the relationship and interconnectivity of objects rather than their individual space. Check out this piece to get a better idea of her talent.  I was really taken aback by her interpretation of spatial planes.

Francesca DiMatitio

Next up was a few African-inspired pieces. I really love tribal art (check out some of my older posts if you want more on that), so I took my time looking through them.  Two pieces caught my eye because I’d never seen African dot art in person. The colors  of Norbert Lynch Knwerraye’s piece reminded me of the clay earth in Arizona. The flow of the dots were so organic and beautiful. It reminded me of African fabrics that form the captivating garbs of African women. Donnegan’s art  was more varietal and colorful.  It seemed more abstract and less deliberate than Knerraye’s, which is a style I prefer.

Norbert Lynch Knwerraye

Jimmy Donegan

So that was it. The Bass as a whole is a small museum and I’d recommend planning to be there for no longer than a half-day. This exhibit ends Sunday, so be sure to hurry out.

Or live vicariously through me.

Boobs, Renaissance art, Tobias Frere-Jones….this is a hodge podge post

24 Oct

Here’s to being back in business… or back to blogging. Whatever you want to call it. I’m back to a state of semi-sanity. You may have noticed my lack of blogging since I moved from New York. Well, life kinda happened, and I kinda had to deal with it. But I’m back! In Miami now, but I am pledging my allegiance to this blog from here on out.

What happened during my hiatus? Well, a lot of things. I got a job as a graphic design intern at a magazine in the Design District in Miami. It really sounded like something great to move me into the design world. Sounded. The magazine was a whack job. Our art director didn’t even have an art degree, just an opinionated staff that controlled our design tasks. Our subject matter? Plastic surgery. So appropriate for Miami, completely unfitting for me. Resizing boobs and formatting layouts for doctors doing vaginal rejuvenation just wasn’t really fulfilling my need for creative expression. Lining up text with the appropriate bleed, kerning, tracking and size just wasn’t my jam. Staff complained of wishing we were more sophisticated while browsing generic stock photos for the layouts. They wanted me, a college student with a 21 hour course load and another job, to stay on nights and weekends to be a slave to their constant on-a-whim design edits that ultimately would change a few hours later. After designing my final ad for a cellulite cream, I had to quit. I’m outta there and so much happier.

What does this have to do with art? Well a lot. It made me question where my place is in the art world, if I even have a place.  It made me question if graphic design and visual art intersect. Was there any connection between the two realms? Obviously there had to be a connection, as I initially was drawn to studio art and have gravitated increasingly to graphic design. Magazine design seems to be governed by a combination of mathematical calculations and design discretion. The mathematical, consistent layout of a magazine bored me, but as much as it bored me, I had to recognize it was still a creative process. Before studying art, I felt was a trade for creative: people who lived outside the box, who created to express, whose hands acted before their brains could interject. But design confused me. It was so thoroughly thought out, so planned, so deliberate, but also so beautiful. The end products of studio art and graphic art are both visually pleasing, even if the process of their creation seemed worlds apart.

However, as I began to learn more about designers and more about artists, I realized that they aren’t that different. Artists are typically viewed as being carefree and expressive while designers are more calculating and deliberate. Typicallyis the key word.  History points to a different story. Renaissance artists tediously calculated their perspective using mathematical formulas. Designers such as Stefan Sagmeister etch words into their bleeding skin and snap a picture to create compelling designs. Design and art are not worlds apart. They have a symbiotic relationship. One cannot change and evolve without impacting the other.  Check out some examples of artists and designers below and see how well they fit your conception of a designer or artist.

Stefan Sagmeister, an extremely successful designer, rarely used Photoshop to create his compositions. His pictures are usually untouched. In this raw and pure design, he etched these words into his skin to exemplify the pain associated with the design process.

Jackson Pollock was an extremely influential abstract artist known for his technique of action painting, which included drip painting and flinging paint over his huge canvases among other spontaneous movements.

(An example of the type Gotham)

An excerpt from an interview with Tobias Frere-Jones, a famous typographer who is extremely meticulous and “type-A” in his typography design. In this interview he is discussing the development of Gotham, one of his most notable type accomplishments. (For non-designers, just request a translation and I’ll help you out) Gotham ”… required a lot of (literal) legwork as we moved through the character set. We were pretty well informed about the caps, needed to search around to understand the figures, and went searching (in vain, ultimately) for lowercase sources. This was the start of the photo excursions that I make almost every weekend now.”

If you’d like to read more about the development of this captivating type, see http://www.themorningnews.org/article/is-gotham-the-new-interstate

 

Masaccio used complex calculations to create a one-point perspective in his piece Holy Trinity. So tedious was he that the even constructed a box with a small hole that centered on the vanishing point of the painting so that viewers would see the composition exactly as he imagined.

My Beef with the Art World

18 Aug

The art world is soooo open-minded. Artists are all about exploring boundaries and bridging chasms. Anyone is art school is such a liberal. Have you heard these clichés before??

Well, heyo. I’ve got some beef with the art world. How many famous black artists do you see out there? Had to think? That’s what I thought. I recently visited a great exhibit at a non-art museum (The Civil Rights Museum inNew Orleans), which had a show called “Race: Are we Really that Different?” It was really a powerful showing, and I knew I had to somehow incorporate it in my blog. My dilemma was that it had little to no art pieces within . I quickly remembered an article I’d read about how white-dominated the art world is, so shazam. This post becomes a social commentary on the art world based on my museum visit.

Think about when you walk into a museum, who is all around you? White middle-class men and women? Exactly. How often do you see a Black or Latino family alongside you admiring a Stuart Davis painting? Even during myNew YorkMuseumvisits, I rarely encountered Black or Latino families. Why you wonder? Let’s see if I can break down the complex social institution (or the entirety of the exhibit at the Civil Rights museum) in a digestible bit. White people live by white people, and Black people live by other Black people. Rarely do they mix. InChicagothe rate of White/Black housing segregation is around 80%. White people traditionally live in more politically active and better represented areas, usually because they have a high enough income to donate money to politicians. Thus theirs needs are definitely considered when politicians are voting (Let’s be real: money buys votes). What is nearly every parent’s concern for their child? A good education? Exactly. In better funded school districts (by and those inhabited by majority White citizens), there is enough funds for programs outside the traditional curriculum: art, music, physical education, etc. In the inner-city, there’s barely enough money for books, much less watercolors. Art programs are few and far between in low-funded school districts. Who goes to school in these districts? Blacks and Latinos.

Besides the lack of art programs in low-funded schools, let’s consider the representation of minorities, namely Blacks in art. Roman statues of highly esteemed Black citizens were done in white marble, not black. A coincidence you say? According to an article in the Harvard Gazette,  “These elite blacks certainly did not identify themselves as black in their choice of marble, perhaps because such an image would have seemed just too close for comfort to the black marble images of servants and slaves” (Colleen Walsh Being Black in Western Art http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2010/11/being-black-in-western-art/).  The white-dominated art world certainly brought pre-existing notions of Blackness into their artwork and ”reinforced a number of largely restrictive stereotypes of black identity (New York Times article below”. A number of exhibits and research projects, including “The Image of the Black in Western Art: From the American Revolution to World War I,” “Winslo Homer’s Images of Blacks: The Civil War and Reconstruction Years,” and “The Portrait of the Negro in American Painting” to name a few, have helped us to examine how white artists have depicted minorities and what the ramifications of these representations have been.  It is important to consider that art is definitely open to interpretation. What one viewer may see as blatantly racist, another may view in another light. This New York Times article expands on this notion http://www.albertboime.com/ReferencesMedia_files/15.pdf.

 

In closing, this article isn’t necessarily to convince you to be outraged at the art world’s hypocrisy (if it even is valid). My aim is to educate you on how larger social institutions (like politics) have influenced even the most liberal structures  (the art world), and to get you to think critically about your place in society. White-male dominated institutions are all around us. Blacks account for 12% of the population, yet there is only one Black politician in the Senate. There are only 3 Hispanics. Black, Latino, and female artists are also underrepresented in the art world. Coincidence? You decide.

Brooklyn Bronx Queens and Staten from the Battery to the Top of Manhattan: My trip to 5 Pointz

13 Aug

Court Street Subway Stop is where it’s at. PS1 (the even cooler sister of the MoMA) is located right off the stop, which is the initial reason why I chose to get off there, but on the ride over there I spotted something unusual. The only way to describe it is a grafitti mecca. I was meeting some friends for the Simian Mobile Disco show, but since I had some time to kill, I decided to investigate. Let me tell you, oooohhhhdoggggy, it was quite the treat. I walked down the street to find 2 men doing grafitti right out in the open. What?! I approached them and saw that they were embellishing an already grafitti-covered wall. In broad daylight. No cops. I soon learned that the name of the place I had stumbled upon was 5pointz, read more at 5ptz.com. This is an outdoor exhibit space for grafitti art, which uses the side of a warehouse as its canvas. Artists are required to have a permit issued by 5ptz to paint, but after you have that piece of paper, your freedom of expression is limitless. Many hip-hop videos have been shot there and characters from the street scene (DJs, MCs, B-boys, etc) are regulars.  Aptly named 5points to represent the 5 boroughs of New York, this street art scene has grown to mammoth proportions. This blog post is more of a testament and documentation of my visit there than an actual history, but you should check out the website if you’re interested.

2 men out in the open with spray cans? No big.

 

ShazamWarehouse wall transformed into street art canvasCh-ch-check itThis is as much information you can find when you stumble upon this interactive exhibit.This reminds me a bit of anime?

 
 
 
 

Another side to check out
The use of brown in grafitti is a novel concept to me, but I’m down.

 
 

Out of this World

9 Aug

I finally did it. I made the trip. I can officially cross the Museum of Art and Design  (MAD) off my list. Now it’s your turn to go. Heed my advice: get there.

I leave New York in a week to head back to New Orleans and then Miami for an indefinite amount of time, so I knew that was running out of time to go. I ran a pretty intense loop this morning, and my feet were not feeling a museum outing. I talked myself out of going and back in a couple times before finally just doing it.  Genius decision.

For a Saturday, the museum was very tranquil. My guess is that it’s overshadowed by the plethora of other big name museums in the city. I walked in, got my ticket, and browsed over the featured exhibits. Much to my pleasant surprise, I was reminded that MAD has open studios where you can watch artists as they work. I nearly peed my pants with excitement when I saw that the featured artist was a terrarium maker. A terrarium, according to Merriam-Webster, is a usually transparent enclosure for keeping or raising plants or usually small animals (as turtles) indoors. I know. It’s not something most people know about much less get excited about, but for me, terrariums are a big deal. I first saw one up close when I was at the Brooklyn Renegade Craft Fair. Hidden among the booths chock-full of hipster clothing  and Etsy-esque  accessories was a little booth full of terrariums. I was fascinated by the artful layout of these small worlds. Some had small figurines in them doing various activites: picnicing, strolling, playing, etc. I quickly got on the elevator and practically ran to the studios. Lo and behold….the terrarium artists at MAD were the same ones that I’d met at Renegade. What a pleasant surprise. The long-time friends, Michelle Inciarrana and Katy Maslow, were sitting casually at a table chatting with a little boy who, like me, was amazed at these little worlds. Occassionally they’d add a new layer to the terrarium that they were working on. It seemed that the process itself was just as important or even more important than the final product. One of the friends said that they started this hobby because it was so therapeutic and fun. Making between $30-$600 per terrarium is probably an added bonus. Check out their work at www.twigterrariums.com and look at some of my favorites below. I don’t think the pictures do them justice, but here, take a glimpse.

PS I want one for my birthday (October 9) or Christmas. I’ll also accept them during Kwanzaa, Hannukah, and Eid. I support diversity.

Next, I ventured down the stairs to the exhibit on the fourth and fifth floors. I initially had planned to skip these floors because I was very interested in seeing the “Are You a Hybrid”  showing on the second floor. I’m so happy I diverted my path.  “Other Worldly: Optical Delusions and Small Realities” was being shown, and  it was some crazy shit.

At first, I really wasn’t into the features. The first piece I saw was a series of very small (maybe 3x5inch) paintings of a visit to the doctors. However, the artist built a very intricate model of a hospital and then painted the pictures from this model she had designed. There were some models that reminded me of the ugly Christmas decorations families put up over the holidays that show scenes such as a lit up neighborhood or children ice-skating over a frozen pond. Luckily, the exhibit was about to get better.

Next I saw a series of photographs by Michael Paul Smith which depicted old  cars in front of various different “old-school” settings, such as a diner, an old home, etc. I honestly could not tell if these pictures were of real cars or of a model he had made. It was the latter, and I was shocked. The whole premise of these pieces was to force us to decipher if the featured art is modeled after real life or a model, thus we are forced to challenge “what is reality?” and also ask “is it important/necessary to distinguish between real life, our own reality, and what is imagined?” The exhibit had a great quote by Salvadore Dali that summed up this phenomenon: “The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most brilliant.” 

Check out this piece by Michael Paul Smith. It's a photo of a model that he constructed. Crazy.

Now before I continue on, I must say that not all the models and their corresponding paintings or prints were that well done. For the ones that it was clear that they were not depicting real life, I found them pointless and a waste of time. Why build an unrealistic model and then take a picture of it to try to pass it off for real life? These prints and paintings, luckily, were few and far between. The artists that were able to confuse me, to really make me try to decipher between reality and their world, made this exhibit insane. Some of the notables included Michael C. McMillen, whose piece consisted of a small looking lens through which you could see a room with a door. Nothing fancy, but the model made me question if I was looking at a model or if I was glimpsing someone else’s reality. He did a great job on this piece, titled “The Studio.” Oliver Bobers was also very successful in depicting a scene as reality, as was Frank Kunert with his “Menu a Deux.”

 The two artists that blew my mind, however, didn’t come until I descended the stairs to go to the fourth floor. I was greeted by a Caution sign saying that the exhibit featured strobe lights. I wasn’t really sure how or why the exhibit would need a strobe, but it didn’t bother me, so I continued in. I was immediately blown away. As I opened the door, I was faced with a primal short movie that was illuminated with a strobe flash. There were babies catching fish, men cutting things, butterflies flying, trees spinning. Suddenly the strobe stopped and the movie slowed. In fact, it was not a movie at all that I was watching but a progression of statues that spun so fast that they appeared to be moving. This piece, by Matt Wollishaw, was a zoetrope. I’d never seen one before, and I while I did my best to define it above, I think good ol’ Wikipedia could help. According to the folks there,  a zoetrope “is a device that produces an illusion of action from a rapid succession of static pictures.” This image was powerful and captivating. Words can’t do it justice. Look at this video: http://www.doobybrain.com/2011/06/22/the-garden-of-unearthly-delights/.

Another artist that really picked by brain was Chris Levine with his “My Deep See Adventure.” It was a simple structure consisting of two thin LED light strips placed about 6 feet away from each other. Between them was a squarish thing (for lack of a better word), and when you looked at it, the metalic red paint somehow bent the light to spell “SEE.” I have no idea how this was accomplished. Then when my eyes moved from one LED strip to another, I could see an eye and the letters S, E, and E. I seriously thought I was going crazy. When you looked at one strip, it was simply lights, but when your eyes moved back and forth between them, you saw strange things. Levine is experimenting with perception and how light can be manipulated to create images not readily seen.

Light artist Chris Levine is constantly experimenting with technology and the way the human eye sees light. His installation uses 2 strips of LED lights that come alive when you move your head sharply from side to side revealing an eye and the word SEE. (Photo and caption from core77.com)

In conclusion, this exhibit is worth your time. A zoetrope and terrarium are things that everyone needs in their lives.

Straight off the Streets

4 Aug

There’s been a recent surge of interest in street art, and with New York being the birthplace of graffiti, I decided to do some street art hunting. Banksy has a couple pieces in New York (for those of you who are street art ignorant, no shame in that, Banksy is a god in this genre). However, I think that public-space art is something you must happen upon and not go out in search of.  Museum exhibitions serve the purpose of showcasing fine works. of art. You know what to expect within the museum’s walls.Y ou can often research what works will be where before you arrive in a gallery.

Street art is a whole different story. Street art has a relatively short life span, given that public tags (small signatures or pictures that are characteristic of one artist)  will quickly be covered up by local beautification initiative. A lot of times artists don’t have the chance to finish or even start, depending on how viligant police are, their works of art. Police have a strong disdain for graffiti.  The purpose of this blog post is simply to show you some art I’ve seen around New York: mainly around SoHo, Greenwich Village, and St. Mark’s Place area. Let me clarify that murals, which are usualy comissioned and supported by the owners of the walls on which they appear, are a sort  of street art, but they are not what I am focussing on in this article. This article is focusing on illegal acts of art, which is my opinion, is the best kind. If every piece of the world can’t be embellished by an individual, then the world ceases to be an interactive medium and loses its artistic flair.

 Herreeee we goooo.

First up is A.S.V.P., a street artist I am unfamiliar with, but I dig his style. This particular photo reminds me a bit of a Kevin Barnes-esque mask. Look carefully at this piece that I found on Prince and Mercer Street in SoHo. While early street art was done with spray cans and thick markers, there’s a growing trend in graphic street art which involves designing on the computer and using wheat paste to adhere the image to a public space, just like this one. Research on A.S.V.P. yields very little results. With a bit of persistence, I learned that he is from New York City, but his pieces are also found in London. Other blogs are also itching to find out more about this mystery tagger, so please, spill the beans if you have any info.

 

Shepard Fairey. I love his stuff. I really do. Nothing gets me going like art with social commentary. He won me over with his Andre the Giant pieces. You know you Andre is, but do you know what he stands for? Fairey created him to stand for nothing, but knowing that American mass consumption leads society to worship anything that is continuously shoved in our faces, Fairey had a hunch that Andre would soon become yet another marketable icon. And it’s true. Haven’t you seen him on tee-shirts, caps, jeans, bags, and every other thing you can possibly buy but don’t need? We all played right into his hands. GENIUS! Despite the fact that a large part of Fairey’s pieces are not his own (don’t believe me? Check out this article by a man chuggin’ the haterade http://www.art-for-a-change.com/Obey/index.htm), he still manages to continously cause me to reexamine my stance on art. Here’s a piece on Wooster Street  in SoHo and another one I found on 5th and Cooper Square on my way to yoga in St. Mark’s place.

Fairey piece around St. Mark's PlaceFairey piece on WoosterFairey piece on Wooster

No amount of research led me to find out more about the artist(s) behind the following pieces, but maybe that’s part of their allure. Street art is quickly becoming commercialized, and I really admire the obscurity of these artists. It could also be my lack of persistance in research, but let’s give them the benefit of the doubt.  

Mercer Street Miscellaneous

Happened upon this impressive rendition of Lil’ Wayne. I tried searching various keywords to find out more about this piece but couldn’t. Same happened for this next piece. I interpreted the artist as “Delta E C” to no avail.

Mercer Street Mystery ArtistA lot of people in New York look this stressed out.

Wooster Street What the Hay?

This piece really caught my eye. There’s a real depth and heaviness to this expressive art. It’s mixed media, consisting of paint, ink, wheat paste, and paper.

Take it all in

 
 
 
One last unidentified art piece. This one was alongside the Fairey piece on Wooster.
 

Big Brother is Watching

So there you go. Keep your eyes peeled in any city, and public space can be its own art exhibition. Art doesn’t have to be a snooty society. Art can be dirty, funky,and grungy. That’s the way I like it.

Original Gs: Graffiti and Gangs

4 Aug

Here’s a bit of history to prepare you for my next post:

Before the 1960s theBronxwas a tight-knit community, but as people started moving out, the neighborhood began to lose its sense of cohesion. expressway was built through the community, which was one of the largest projects to be built in theBronxup until this time. Soon after in 1968, a 15,382 person capacity apartment complex was built. These big changes within a small period of time brought even more unrest and division in this once solid community.

Also during this time, a group of teenage boys began wrecking havoc on the streets of theBronx.  They called themselves the Savage 7 and were made up of a group of seven boys from the Bronxdale project, thus gaining the title of the first streetgang from theSoutheast Bronx. While their primary activity was beating up bus drivers, other activities involving violence were welcomed. Their following soon grew, and they renamed themselves the Black Spades.

As membership grew so did the enemies of  the Black Spades. The first “counter-gang,” called the Castlehill gang, created itself with the sole intention of beating up the Black Spades. In the wake of this counter-gang, multitudes of other gangs began to surface. In 1970, gang membership was estimated to be 11,000 people; members hip peaked in  1973 with an estimated 19,503 members (Hagar, 2002, p. 48).  The rise in gangs resulted in a rise in  assaults.  In 1960 assaults in theBronxnumbered 998, but in  1969, assaults had grown to 4256. While most people felt that gangs were bad for the neighborhood, few people realized that gangs were largely responsible for the exodus of heroin junkies from this community. While their intentions may have not been in the name of community improvement (junkies were easy targets), gangs’ effect on the community was nonetheless beneficial in this aspect.

When the first high school in theNorth Bronxopened, gang activity became much more prominent.  Police and law enforcement began to closely monitor gang activity, and spats between the groups were common. ABronxteenager was shot nine times by the police in 1975, and the slain boy’s best friend, Afrika Bambaataa, called for gang activity to fight “the system.” This would not be last time Bambaata mobilized people for a cause. While he partook in the violence of gang activities, he was much more involved in policy. He was often seen hanging around the Black Panther Information Center inNew York.

Graffiti became a common way forBronxmembers to express their distrust, disgust, and disenchantment with law enforcement and their practice of racial profiling during this time. Just as gangs became a forum for people to organize, writers’ groups became a safe place for graffiti artists to explore different styles in writing and plan how to stay on top of the other artists’ groups. One of the most prominent organizations of writers was the United Graffiti Artists (UGA), which was designed  to “redirect the efforts of the elite writers” (Hager, 2002, p. 50). These writing groups were similar to gangs, but the common denominator that brought them together was street art instead of violence. Despite the focus on social commentary through art, graffiti groups still weren’t immune to racial tension. Puerto Ricans and Blacks, two of the more prominent demographic groups in theBronx, had the most turf wars over graffiti.

 

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