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Chilean Public Art Steps Up in Time of Revolution

The Writings on the City’s Walls: Street Art and Graffiti in Santiago, Chile in a Time of Social Revolution
FEBRUARY 17, 2020
Reporting: Street Art NYC (LINK)

The following post is by Houda Lazrak:

While visiting Santiago, Chile in late December, I sat down with Santiago-based architect and street art/graffiti expert Sebastián Cuevas Vergara. We met a few blocks from one of Santiago’s main urban landmarks, Plaza Baquedano, now known as Plaza de la Dignidad or Dignity Square — the main site of Chile’s protests against social inequality that erupted last October following a hike in subway fares.

Every Friday afternoon, thousands gather in Plaza de la Dignidad to express their frustration with the high cost of living, rising rents, government corruption and an unsustainable social welfare system. The walls in the vicinity are plastered with protest posters, tags, graffiti, wheatpastes and other varied urban interventions.

Sebastián shared some of his thoughts and observations about the current state of public space in Santiago:

So much has changed here since I last visited Chile in 2013. What are you up to at the moment?

I am currently teaching a street art class at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of Chile. This a particularly pertinent moment to be talking about people’s relation to public space in view of all the street art that has surfaced since the social crisis started.

Yes, it does seem extremely relevant.

I have a thesis: Santiago is the city with the most diverse graffiti in the world at the moment. There is poetic graffiti, urban graffiti, feminist graffiti, political graffiti…

And so many posters too!

The languages of the streets are changing. When the protests started, designers started making posters: a simple, straightforward, immediate response. Posters and graphics have been part of Chilean identity since the 1970s, so this was quickly picked up again.

Is this happening mainly in the city center?

It is concentrated in the center of the city. This is where it has the most significance, near ‘zona cero’ where the protests surface every Friday.

How have the graffiti and street art changed in Santiago since the social revolution erupted?

There are several changes. First, many artists are no longer signing their works. The personal nature of graffiti is not of essence now. Artists are, instead, giving their art to the movement. This is particularly interesting, because the graffiti scene in Santiago is very competitive. Second, works are much larger in scale because artists are collaborating. Third, performance art is integrated into the protests and with the graffiti and street art. Finally, feminist street art is now at the forefront. The work of groups like the Chilean feminist collective LASTESIS has gone viral.

Shelter in Place Uploads Special

Wash those hands! Be safe! Maybe don't go out painting right now??
Music: Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, Echo and the Bunnymen
Submissions, photos by: Josiah, niklaq, RobertPower415
This photo: In Sacramento, CA (RobertPower415/reddit)

Istanbul (just one)
Banksy (just one)
Hamburg (just one; more TXMX uploads coming soon)
Sacramento (just one)
Oakland (just one)
Boston (just one)
Providence, RI
Mexico City/CDMX (just one)

……. San Francisco ………

Early 2000s classic by Claude
fnnch
Upper Haight St.
Mission District (just one)
Valencia St.

New Pics: TXMX goes all Hamburg for your social distancing pleasure

Once again, Stencil Archive welcomes the annual submissions from one of the site's longest-running collaborators. We always enjoy seeing what's going on in the streets of (mostly) Hamburg, DE and TXMX gets the goods. Thanks always, and hope all is well with you over in the EU zones.

The ass bubbles stencil: art by zoon; photo by TXMX (Hamburg, DE)

Since you're supposed to be inside and distanced, get a little closer with three dozen TXMX photos of art in the Hamburg streets. More artist uploads coming soon!

Pre-Spring Uploads for the Stencil Archive

Thanks for submissions: Brooklyn Street Art/Jaime Rojo, Raven, and Josiah
Musical support: the best band from Vermont
Coming soon: The 2020 TXMX uploads (all Hamburg)!
Photo: Ensemble Reel wheatpaste on Haight St., SF, CA

Banksy
>NEW< Ensemble Reel (FR)
>NEW< amazing cut paper art of Pippa Dyrlaga (UK)
Berlin (photos: Jaime Rojo)
>NEW< Sajjad Abbas (IQ)
Praxis (just one; photo: Jaime Rojo)
Oakland, CA (just one)
Miami
NYC
Upper Haight, SF
24th Street, SF

2nd Circuit Upholds VARA, and 5Pointz Decision

A Stunning Legal Decision Just Upheld a $6.75 Million Victory for the Street Artists Whose Works Were Destroyed at the 5Pointz Graffiti Mecca

The ruling shuts down the defendant's claims on practically every count.

Eileen Kinsella, February 20, 2020
Artnet.com article here

In a sweeping 32-page decision eviscerating the legal arguments of a disgruntled Queens real estate developer, a US Appeals Court affirmed the rights and monetary damages awarded to a group of graffiti artists whose works were destroyed without warning or consent in 2013.

The artists sued the developer, Gerald Wolkoff, in 2013 for violating their rights after he whitewashed their work at the famous 5Pointz graffiti art mecca in New York to make way for condos. A jury ruled in favor of the artists in November 2017, but it was up to a judge to determine the extent of the damages.

In February 2018, Brooklyn Supreme Court judge Frederick Block awarded the artists a total $6.75 million in a landmark decision. The sum included $150,000—the maximum legal penalty—for each of the 45 destroyed works at the center of the case.

The trial was a key test of the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA), which grants visual artists certain “moral rights” for their work. Previous VARA cases rarely made it to trial, and were instead settled privately.

But the act, which was added to copyright laws in 1990, disallows the modification of works in ways that could be considered harmful to artists’ reputations, and grants protections to artworks deemed to be of “recognized stature.”

In his appeal, Wolkoff challenged practically every aspect of the decision by Judge Block, from the amount of the award, to the suggestion that the graffiti murals at 5Pointz merited protection under the “recognized stature” clause.

But Wolkoff was rebuffed on all points in the latest ruling, and the court took the additionally extraordinary step of citing his own lawyers against him. “Wolkoff’s own expert acknowledged that temporary artwork can achieve recognized stature,” according to the decision.