In the wake of MOCA's groundbreaking “Art in the Streets” exhibit, is there a national crackdown on graffiti?
The Wall Street Journal, following up on the recent arrest of “Art in the Streets” star Revok, says yes.
While we reported that officials say it's simply a coincidence that a few high-profile graffiti artists have been arrested around the time of the headline-grabbing MOCA celebration of street art, the Journal says law enforcement has been building up its cases against spray-can-using vandals:
Law-enforcement officials around the country are prosecuting graffiti artists with harsher sentences than ever, pushing for felony charges, real prison time and restitution payments as they seek to wipe graffiti from the streets. At the same time, the art world and corporations are embracing the form like never before.
The City Attorney's office told us that the much-publicized take down of Revok only coincidentally happened during “Art in the Streets” — he had missed a court date in March and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Because he was headed for Ireland, a high bail amount resulted, they said. He's now serving six months behind bars for failing to pay restitution to victims of his public art/vandalism.
L.A. County Sheriff's graffiti guru Lt. Vince Carter tells the WSJ:
This is really the first time in the history of law enforcement that we're making significant gains on identifying who the [graffiti] taggers are, and building a case against them.
Should street artists be scared?