I was in Johannesburg in 1993, before the rise of the anti-apartheid government, when the streets throbbed with uncertainty about the future. The political leadership was trying to decide if the fall of apartheid would be peaceful or bloody. The ambiguity hanging in the air made it hard to get a bead on the general direction of things. But you could find clues. You just had to search for them among the people of that huge industrial city, in their voices, their writings and especially, in their art.
When a Jersey City teenager started tagging and defacing public advertisements back in the early 1990’s, he had no clue it would turn into a lucrative art career. But that’s the story of Brian Donnelly, better known as “KAWS,” that has led him to a multi-sight exhibition at Atlanta’s High Museum of Art. Perched on the top floor above the High’s Picasso to Warhol exhibit, KAWS’ installment “DOWN TIME” seems to bring the Modernism housed in the levels below into the modern times they helped create. His work is strange, yet strikingly familiar, and why wouldn’t it be? It’s essentially a commentary on pop-culture, drawn from pop culture and stamped on pop culture -– it has become pop culture.
A 13-year old boy was hauled off to jail last week for using a permanent marker in his Oklahoma City middle school. A seventh grade math teacher claims the boy tried to hide the marker when she asked him for it. Teacher DeLynn Woodside called police and signed a complaint, saying the child was “writing on a piece of paper, which caused it to bleed over onto the desk.” TheSmokingGun.com broke this story with a link to the arrest records. The teen is accused of violating Municipal Code Section 35-202, originally aimed at stopping graffiti on private property:
No person may possess an aerosol spray paint container or broad-tipped indelible marker on any private property unless the owner, agent, manager, or other person having control of the property consented to the presence of the aerosol spray paint container or broad-tipped indelible marker. The internet is buzzing about the story, which many consider outrageous. One website points out that the law should not apply in this case, because the incident took place in a public school.