Street Art Used To Be the Voice of the People. Now It’s the Voice of Advertisers.
Art Business

Street Art Used To Be the Voice of the People. Now It’s the Voice of Advertisers.

Street murals, often used for political messaging, are becoming increasingly co-opted by corporations and developers. (Aaron Ortiz-Johnson) For some artists, the only way to avoid a corporate takeover of the mind, so to speak, is by steering clear of commercial commissions altogether. Los Angeles, a city once known as the mural capital of the world , issued a citywide mural moratorium in 2002 to crack down on the growing issue of outdoor advertising passing as street art. The ban remained in place until a 2013 ordinance overturned it and set down strict new rules prohibiting commercial messages in street murals. But in one of the first murals to go up the following year, by famous graffiti artist Risk, onlookers quickly noticed the spade-shaped logo of Miller Fortune beer. The advertisement sparked outrage and was quickly removed for violating the ordinance. As more corporations and real estate developers across the country turn to murals to hawk their products, controversy follows. In New York City, for instance, Target had to apologize for a mural it installed inside a new store in the East Village. While the mural was designed as an homage to the neighborhood’s history as a home to punk […]

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