Albuquerque Graffiti and Street Art: Crime or Art?

Just like any other form of art, there are those who adore it and those who criticize it. Graffiti and Street art in general has both its pros and cons but it’s all in perspective to its viewers. There has been an ongoing debate since the origin of this art medium on whether or not graffiti and street art is considered to be a crime or art. Recently, Albuquerque graffiti made local headlines but not for the most positive reasons. Many artists have been pushing the boundaries and have begun tagging up major bridges and businesses in the Albuquerque area. For example the tags DMT, Geko, Believe and Plugs have been sited on the overpass connecting I-40 to Coors Boulevard and have also been seen at the top of the Sunshine Theater downtown. To the eyes of many citizens here in Albuquerque, this is seen as vandalizing and the destruction of public property. Under these extreme circumstances it is highly destructive to businesses and the city as a whole. One reason many people criticize graffiti and street art here in Albuquerque is due to the fact that it is still in its developing stages. Compared to major cities such as LA and New York, they are considered to be mainstream when it comes to graffiti and street art. For example, I recently went to San Diego and took a few days to wonder the city and view some of its graffiti and street art. From what I saw it covers everything. From street lights and stop signs to underpasses of bridges, tags and characters were scattered across the walls of the city. While exploring the city, I decided to ask some locals a few questions regarding graffiti and street art in San Diego. Of the five individuals I questioned, four stated they did not have a problem with it and believed it to be seen as normal. I feel as though in order for the public to accept graffiti and street here in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it must be displayed in galleries in order for it to be appreciated as a style of art rather than vandalism. What the general public does not understand is that displaying this type of art in galleries and museums takes away from the pieces overall meaning and message. Artists use their environment to relay messages to their viewers and to make their presence known. Under some circumstances graffiti and street art is considered a crime. It is ultimately based on its viewers to determine whether or not this art style should be stopped. Not all beautiful things want to be seen.

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