From Sean: “Last night at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston councilmember Sue Lovell pledged the entire city budget for graffiti removal- $2 million- to purchase property for graffiti writers to use prosecution free if they will, quote, “stop”
In conversation with Houston graffiti writer ARTICLE, Lovell compared graffiti writers to dogs pissing on walls and also admitted to spray painting SILENCE = DEATH stencils during the 1980s AIDS campaign. Her attempt to negotiate directly with ARTICLE for the compliance of all local writers was quickly killed by Director of the Community Artists´ Collective Michelle Barnes who reminded the Councilmember that ARTICLE “only speaks for himself”.
Despite heckling from the crowd, Lovell persisted in reinerating property values rights over the theoretical arguments of Contemporary Arts Museum Houston curator Valerie Cassel Oliver and Spectrum Dance Theater Artistic Director Donald Byrd that graffiti is a cultural symptom rather than a direct function of a lack of free wall space.
While no member of the panel directly confronted Lovell on her plan, the hope of negotiating with hundreds of teenagers and several fractious political groups of writers to stop graffiti in Houston is an impossible task representing a lack of understanding of the problem coupled with the insinuation that she could convince the other City Council members to shell out $2 million to purchase property for artists to use for mural painting.