Greg Beato on How Graffiti Empowers Big Government


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.