According to the gallery owners, art book publishers, art critics, advertising agency creatives, collectors, American Studies graduate students, and all the other cultural tastemakers who have helped position graffiti as a glamorous means of grassroots resistance against the encroachments of the state and its corporate overlords, graffiti is a liberating force that allows individuals and communities to reclaim public space. But as Greg Beato reports, the rise of graffiti has had another consequence: It has given local governments a pretext to expand their coercive powers.
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