Friday, May 18, 2007

Art Space News: The Splasher

Street art has long been a tradition in New York. However, in recent years several now-famous artists have graced the streets with their work. Art by Banksy, Swoon, Faile and others have found a safe home on the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan. However, these works have been challenged by an anonymous artssassin. This destroyer of the streets has been coined as 'The Splasher'- and splash he does!

Apparently he, she, or they utilizes buckets of paint as an arsenal of artistic destruction. The attack is simple enough- a quick 'splash' of colors hits the target- a task that could take mere seconds to accomplish. No one has been able to catch the Splasher even though teams have been assembled to 'guard' works that have yet to be destroyed. Also, the works that are targeted are all works by artists who are now famous- the Splasher does not target common sprawl art.

Onlookers have suggested several motives for the destruction due to the Splashers selective practice. One theory is that the Splasher a jealous street artist. Another theory is that the destruction is a ploy are street art collectors who hope to make their collections more valuable by destroying outside works. Others have suggested that Splasher might be an artists who is simply expressing himself by revealing the fact that street art is supposed to 'decay'. Those who support that theory feel that the Splasher is simply striking out against the commercialism of gallery controlled street art.

An interesting aspect of this story is that various manifestos (image above and below) have been left on many of the destroyed works. The papers are glued on the walls with a warning that injury may occur if they are removed due to 'shards of glass'. At least the Splasher has concern for the well-being of the public, right?

What do you think about 'The Splasher'? Do you have a theory about who or what it is? If you are from New York and have seen the remains of these works I'd love to read your experience- how did you feel when you discovered the destruction? Do you think this destruction is just another form of art? Is it acceptable since the work is street art?
Take care, Stay true,
Brian Sherwin


Anonymous said...

the pieces are so insendiary that it wouldnt surprise me at all if the artists were doing it themselves as a commentary on their own work. a kind of if you meet buddha on the road kill him concept

dougphoto said...

Somebody has been splashing in chicago for over a year maybe it's a movement.

Balhatain said...

Brendan, good point.

Doug, I'd like to read more about that. Is it the same situation... known works being destroyed?

Anonymous said...

I am not an artist, but I agree with the splasher. The media has drowned us and we take no action because we look to the media to take action for us. Activism is dying. Street art was once activism; taking back the space that was being sold from under out feet. Now it's something to sue over, a way to sell T-shirts, a backdoor into the music industry. The art left behind by Banksy and the others are no longer activist icons, but billboards for a product. That is why the Splasher targets them... and maybe a little jealousy, but who knows?

Sio'ualofalesina said...

I think it is paint graffiti envy. the splasher is just showing that he/she has no creativity and is envious that he/she didn't think of the concept themselves. POA TING!!!
so the splasher is lashing out using art but they are still psychotic..mixing shards of glass with their manifestos..please post a manifesto over my art and I will gladly remove is the act of doing...right??? I dont mind a few pieces of glass in my hands...I have done worse to myself over the years..what's a few more scars....

Anonymous said...

According to Wikipedia:

The splashings continued until June 2007, when James Cooper, 24, was arrested at an art opening in Brooklyn for trying to set off a stink bomb from a coffee can at an art opening for Shepard Fairey. Cooper was charged with third-degree arson, reckless endangerment, placing a false bomb, criminal possession of a weapon, harassment and disorderly conduct. Two days after his release, a group of individuals distributed a 16-page manifesto at another Fairey art opening entitled If we did it this is how it would’ve happened. The manifesto stated the motives of the group behind The Splasher:

“By challenging what the experts term 'street art', our actions have, in turn, uncovered an alliance between the coercive force of the state and the "creative class" of the artist.”

The authors linked the street art movement to furthering gentrification in New York neighborhoods.