|here one day, gone the next. not an unusual fate for street art.|
What happened to Sagan Newham's piece on the Haywood Printing building was not censorship (contrary to what she believes). It was simply a contractual agreement. She had full knowledge that her work was going to be removed. She was notified of the building owner's concerns after her first day of painting, and told the work was coming down after the painting was complete. The J&C reported that story, so even the public knew the work was going to be covered over. For her to say she had no knowledge of this is disingenuous. Her own fecklessness kept her from mounting a defense of the work over the past month of its existence. She was contracted to install 2 other works in town. But she quit the project instead of choosing to respond to criticism through her work, like any other artist would have. What she sees as censorship, I see as a failed work of art. Not because it was a bad painting or that there was poor technique or skill or vision, but simply because it didn't communicate her concept. That is her failure as an artist, not the failure of the public's ability to view art. You don't get an artist statement with street art. Intentions are meaningless. The work has to be able to stand on its own two legs. This one did not.
I'm tired of seeing people bash public perception as though ignorance is the only thing that plays into their bias. Likewise, it is unfair for her to be upset with the "unfortunate folks" who did not get her painting. Their opinions are just as valid as hers. And when a work is put up in public, it is left to the public to decide its meaning. It is elitism for an artist to dismiss public perception of public art. It is pretentious to want to paint the experience of "factory workers" when the artist has no access to the experience she is depicting. Her work ends up being presumptive and stereotypical, shallow and superficial. The painting lacks research, investigation, and effort, and it shows.
p.s. "Art in the buff" Part 1 can be read here.