Archive for March, 2014

Prague's ugly art

Some of Prague’s unattractive side

It never ceases to disappoint me how the beauty of Prague’s multi-era architecture is marred and disfigured by graffiti. This is not art, nor is it the work of street artists. Rather, it’s mindless scratchings made by idiots with spray cans of paint. There are a number of cities and artists known¬†around the world for high-quality, artistic street renderings. Prague is not one of them.

Lennon Wall, Prague

My dad at the Lennon Wall, December 2012

With the exception of the only officially allowed graffiti in the city — the Lennon Wall — I have yet to see a work of art emblazoned across an otherwise pristine canvas. And even said wall changes regularly and has been painted over with artless scribbles in many places.

No building and no part of the city seems immune, including government buildings, shops and private homes. Although there are some buildings (such as where I live), that take part in an anti-graffiti campaign of some sort. I’m not sure what the punishment is if caught, but it seems to work as my building is one of only a couple on the street without these ugly markings.

I feel for the property managers who regularly repaint their exterior walls to cover up the damage, only for it to be replaced almost immediately by more inane splatterings. I’m not sure if creating more attractive work would be less disheartening as technically it would still be defacing private property, but it would at least be a little less embarrassing and easier to tolerate if it were say like the works of King Robbo or Banksy.

Banksy’s 3D style, I’d say, revolutionized the world of street art. But even among the street art community there’s a debate over who is truly the king. A battle between the two became so popular that a movie was made about it in 2011. But I digress.

Graffiti in Riegrovy sady

Graffiti in Riegrovy sady

I suppose the problem is that there isn’t enough concern on the part of law making or enforcement. So my disdain should be directed at them as much as the vandals themselves, if not more. I would think for a city that earns a good chunk of its revenue from tourism, this would be a higher priority to control.

But alas, there are other things I love about this city so it’s not the end of the world. I just wish I were better able to turn a blind eye.

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