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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tagging Up

They had a bit of a mural art seminar at the Kansas City Museum, a presentation that tied together the Mexican mural art tradition with modern tag/graffiti. A bit of a stretch in some ways, to go from Marxist oriented art that was sanctioned and subsidized by a government to art that is considered by the government to generally be vandalism.

After Hector Casanova's slide show, Gear gave a presentation, then both of them and José Faus went out and worked together on a wall. They had a second canvas set up for the kiddos, too.

I guess that's fairly radical, a museum essentially teaching kids to tag up. But then, these guys aren't really outlaw types. Even Gear, by his own admission he used to tag wherever he could get away with it, shinnying up downspouts, jumping from billboards to building roofs, and bombing railroad cars, but after getting caught a few times he says it's not worth it, he sticks to legal walls.

I was surprised at how methodical Gear was when they started painting. Another photographer who was there commented to me that Scribe would be finished by now, that he was a very rapid, fluid sort of painter. Which, whatever, you work at the pace you work at, it's art. But I wonder how much getting caught relates to how long it takes you to finish a piece. I know from trying to photograph tags on trains, the longer you spend in a rail yard, the more likely you are to encounter railroad bulls.

I try to avoid the bulls with just a camera, let alone a case of spray paint and a ladder. They're a terrible hybrid, essentially private security operating under the delusion of being actual law enforcement, employed by companies the Supreme Court has held to have government-type authority since before the Civil War—half Wyatt Earp half Mall Cop.

Anyway, it was a good show. The museum's new Executive Director, Anna Marie Tutera (the blue jacket above), is one of the most charismatic people I think I've ever met, looking forward to seeing what all she does with the place.

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