If You Don't Dig

Mr. Di Piero has some astute observations about the formalistic, social and historical precedents concerning "street art", but his comment about subway/streetcar interior "tagging" and "graf" I found to be a bit startling: "...subway riders didn’t get the opportunity to choose the art that was imposed on them and that, inside the cars, invaded their psychological privacies. The random scrawls and slashing incoherent imagery were like obnoxiously loud fellow riders ranting unintelligibly about subjects that had nothing to do with your life." What would be interesting is to swap the concept of "graf/tagging" out for "advertising" in general; I most certainly don't have the opportunity to choose the messaging that is imposed upon me that has, for the most part, nothing to do with my own life..."Too much (advertising) wakes us by yelling at us." It is fairly easy to look at any "scene" from the outside and critique its snobbishness/elitism (and the "street art" scene has plenty of that internecine and exclusionary nonsense to go around) and find it all an overwhelmingly hip spectacle (this seems to be Di Piero's significant, though not overriding, take on the show. Along with the implication that this show is a synecdoche for the whole scene/movement)...but, it is quite another situation to find within a group or scene tactics and/or methodologies that could be perceived as radical critiques of culture and society as a whole. Di Piero's irritation and dislike for interior graf/tagging within subway cars does just that. Whether he realized it at the time of this review or not.
— July 24, 2011 2:37 p.m.