Art News

Reader: Graffiti on Ponti Is Vandalism, Not Art

Kenzie Bruce

On January 10, the Denver Art Museum held a ceremonial groundbreaking for the $150 million three-year project that will renovate the circa 1971 building created by Gio Ponti. But as donors and other luminaries gathered on one side of the landmark, an "idiot" had left his "idiotic" mark. Michael Paglia's story on the graffiti inspired a heated conversation on the meaning of graffiti, museums...and art in general. Says Adrianna:
 'Idiotic' and 'idiot' — don't you have a wider vocabulary as a journalist and art scholar? The earliest recorded art came from painting on cave walls, from tagging safe areas, places to hunt and find shelter. Graffiti has been around since the dawn of man and will definitely live longer than we will. Do some research on graffiti and the history before dogging this.

I actually give props to this person, on such a regulated and high volume area and they still got up?! And the size of it? And next to a police station. That's ballsy!

I do not agree that it was right to do on such a historic building - but you shook up the system and that's something to be proud of. Too many people are squares and compliant.
Responds Lolly: 
The DAM Ponti building is a work of art in itself. A decent graffiti artist would use their skills to beautify a bland space, not to destroy the art of those who came before him/her. Vandalism, not an art. Punks with paints. Not cool.
Hollie replies: 
Looks like the rest of the building needs color. It seems so blah, but then the art on the side really makes it pop! Why not get the graffiti artists of Colorado to come together to finish the building and really make it something special and unique to our city?
Adds Clifford: 
Art museums are good as far as they preserve historical art, but they also help preserve the bourgeois idea that because certain art is in a museum or gallery, it is worth something. Art museums are just as guilty as Sotheby's for turning art into commodity and pumping up consumerism. Getting art into a museum is akin to getting signed with a major record label. Museums have helped make monsters like Koons and Herst, to name a couple.

On the other hand, there is a great side to museums, and I am not discrediting the value of having a place where I can go and view great work any time I want. If the graffiti artist was grinding against capitalism and art as commodity, I commend their brave efforts; if not, then fuck them.
Concludes Eric: 
People who bomb are looking for attention or gaining recognition. Westword has certainly given this person that spotlight. Well done.
Keep reading for more of our coverage of the Ponti project:

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