New York City Mayor, Mike Bloomberg and his thought-police took a hit on Tuesday when a Manhattan Federal Court justic, Judge Jed Rakoff ruled Marc Ecko’s planned “Getting Up Block Party” could go on as planned.
The block party to promote the release of Ecko’s new video game was put on hold when city officials pulled Ecko’s permit, claiming the appearance of graffiti artists tagging in public (illegal in New York City only if defacing public or private property) would promote vandalism in the subways and surrouding streets during the event.
What I don’t understand is, how can anyone not consider graffiti an art form? As long as graf writers adhere to the letter of the law and not tag on public or private property, who in their right mind can claim that just the act of tagging is a crime. It’s dictatorial, communist and orwellian, all rolled into one. Freedom of expression is a constitutional as well as god-given right.
I’ll be out with camera in tow to take shots of the pieces being put up during the party and post them here. From the press release I posted below, it kicks off at 12 noon on 22nd Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues until 8:00 PM.
FROM THE PRESS RELEASE
Marc Ecko, designer and “Navigator of Youth Culture,” is set to recruit the legends of Hip-Hop culture for the upcoming Marc Ecko’s Getting Up Block Party. The first-of-it-kind street festival, free to the public and held August 24th on 22nd Street between 10th and 11th Avenues from 12:00PM â€“ 8:00PM, will feature graffiti demonstrations, live DJs and surprise musical performances in celebration of the golden age of Hip-Hop. The event coincides with the anticipated release of Atari’s graffiti-based videogame, Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure.
As a throwback to graffiti’s glory days, “Marc Ecko’s Getting Up Block Party” will feature ten 48-foot-long by 8-foot-high replicas of the legendary NYC transit blue-bird subway cars Ed Walker, Jr., which will be transformed into contemporary urban works of art by renowned graffiti writers. A lineup of legendary artists, from the notorious ‘Bronx bomber and destroyer’ COPE2 to T-KID (Terrible Kid), who first started writing on trains as early as 1974, will spend the day doing full color murals on the vintage trains.
Other participating graf writers include DASH, WEST, CES, SONIC, IZ THE WIZ, MIN, DURO, WANE, WEN, DERO, CYCLE, SMITH, PINK, DOC, KEL 1st, MARE139, CRASH, DAZE, SUB, GHOST, and the famous TATS CREW.
Blue-birds, a high point of nostalgia for historians and artists alike, were often used as an urban canvas by graffiti writers throughout the 1980s before blasting machines and buffers were used to strip them clean, effectively putting an end to the era of graffiti artwork on the sides of trains.
“Graffiti is without question the most powerful art movement in recent history and has been a driving inspiration throughout my career,” said Marc Ecko, Executive Creative Director for Getting Up. “I’m honored to be bringing its pioneering creative forces together to look back on its tradition and to celebrate its future.”
In addition to reviving an old school graffiti tradition, the block party will offer guests the opportunity to participate in live demos of Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure and experience the first truly authentic video game based on urban culture and graffiti. The videogame, which is being published by Atari and developed by The Collective for a Fall 2005 release, brings together over 65 legendary graffiti writers, six of whom will serve as in-game mentors to its protagonist, Trane.