Should Graffiti Be Banned And Graffiti Artists Be Banned?

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Should graffiti be banned and graffiti artists be prosecuted? This and a variety of related questions have been increasingly perplexing society as a result of the popularization of graffiti, starting with dissemination of its works in New York City in the early 1980s (346). Since then, graffiti artists have both been banned and cherished, deprived of their work and allowed in art galleries. Thus, another question has been raised: Should graffiti be considered art or a form of communication with aesthetics on a background? This question is addressed in the essay, “Revolution in a Can,” written by Blake Gopnik and first published in the November 2011 edition of Foreign Policy (345). In the essay, Gopnik presents an argument that essentially divides the world of graffiti in two spheres: Western and non-Western. In the former, graffiti has gone from being a means of speaking against prevailing inequalities to “[saddling] with the oldest high-culture clichés” associated with art (346). While in the latter, graffiti is used to communicate ideas and to “[speak] truth to power” (346). Ultimately, what is at stake here is how do we accept and identify new forms of self-expression which are vital to human development? While many can agree that the likelihood of a person running into graffiti in a Western art gallery is greater than doing so in the non-Western world, the act of regionally dividing the purpose of art seems questionable to say the least. Thus, even though Gopnik makes a

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