NYC Halts Showing of “Arts in the Streets”

[via death and taxes magazine] The Brooklyn Museum was set to host the “Art in the Streets” exhibition currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. The show would have attracted graffiti enthusiasts from all over the city whose only opportunity to appreciate the art is searching for it scattered throughout the boroughs and at 5 Pointz in Queens.

The Brooklyn show, however, was cancelled due to a questionable issue of funding in the “current financial climate,” says Arnold L. Lehman, director of the Brooklyn Museum. The cancellation comes at an interesting time following an article entitled “Radical Graffiti Chic,” written by a fellow at the Manhattan Institute, Heather Mac Donald.

The article criticizes the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles for “glorifying vandalism,” according to the New York Times. This prompted The Daily News to write an article about the exhibition coming to Brooklyn, saying, “mavens will be sticking their thumbs in the eyes of every bodega owner and restaurant manager who struggles to keep his or her property graffiti-free.”

Following The Daily News article, Brooklyn City Councilman Peter F. Vallone Jr. wrote a letter to the Brooklyn Museum, stating, “Let me be very clear, taxpayer money should NOT be used to encourage the destruction of our taxpayers’ property.” He then reminded Leham that the museum gets $9 million of its annual funding from the city. A short while after this exchange the show was cancelled.

Going to the New York City government website will bring you to a page called the Mayor’s Community Affairs Unit, where a project called “Quality of Life: Graffiti Free NYC,” is detailed as “combat[ing] graffiti in our communities,” and encourages residents to join the fight to “keep New York beautiful.”

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