Graffiti Exhibit in LA Is Magnet for Taggers and Cops; At Least One Famous Street Artist Detained

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An exhibit of graffiti at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles is intended to bring public attention to what some view as exciting—albeit illegal in a number of settings—and cutting-edge works.

But in a development that museum officials say they anticipated, the exhibit has apparently drawn some of the art form’s major international practitioners. the Los Angeles Times reports.

In addition to presumably taking a look at the exhibit, graffiti artists have also been tagging outside, authorities say. In response, police have been snapping photos of the new graffiti outside the museum, hoping to link those responsible at some point down the road and, it would appear, keeping an eye out for suspects. Already, one major name in the graffiti world, Invader, has reportedly been detained for questioning.

“We respect the rights to have an art exhibition, but we demand the security of other people’s property,” Jack Richter of the Los Angeles Police Department tells the newspaper. “As former Chief [William J.] Bratton was fond of saying, ‘if you want to be an artist, buy a canvas.’ “

Additional and related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Alleged College Grad Graffiti Tagger in YouTube Videos Could Get 14 Years”

ABAJournal.com: “Detroit Debate: Was Removal of High-End Graffiti a Criminal Act or Art Rescue?”

ABAJournal.com: “As Graffiti Artist Wins Mainstream Success, DA Seeks Injunction Barring Any Profit From His Tag”

L.A. Now (Los Angeles Times): “Street artist ‘Space Invader’ believed detained in L.A. vandalism case”

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