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Graffiti debate: Art versus vandalism


How do you talk about graffiti without glorifying it -- it's illegal when it's on a wall you don't have permission to paint -- but still recognizing its artistry? That was the challenge for the editorial board, which took the opportunity to wade into the controversy over graffiti after Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine denounced the art supply chain Aaron Brothers for its promotional "graffiti starter kits." Of course, the kits were markers and paper, not cans of spray paint and tips on tagging concrete walls. But the company quickly pulled the kits from L.A. stores and wrote a letter to the councilman apologizing for any wrong impression. Maybe the councilman overreacted and maybe the art company should not have capitulated, but there's no question that graffiti is a continuing problem -- and a growing source of fascination for art gallery crowds. We grapple with this issue in a forthcoming editorial. Check back Sunday to read where we ended up on this debate.


Tagging MOCA

How graffiti artist Smear built his brand

Graffiti and MOCA's 'Art in the Streets': A $36.52 review

Ted Rall Cartoon: Is MOCA to blame for a new wave of graffiti?

Testing the 1st Amendment and the definitions of "art" and "vandalism"

-- Carla Hall

Photo: A skateboarder rolls past a mural depicting a skateboarding bulldog that covers old graffiti walls in East Los Angeles on Aug. 22, 2011. Credit: Damian Dovarganes / Associated Press


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The Opinion L.A. blog is the work of Los Angeles Times Editorial Board membersNicholas Goldberg, Robert Greene, Carla Hall, Jon Healey, Sandra Hernandez, Karin Klein, Michael McGough, Jim Newton and Dan Turner. Columnists Patt Morrison and Doyle McManus also write for the blog, as do Letters editor Paul Thornton, copy chief Paul Whitefield and senior web producer Alexandra Le Tellier.

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