Alibi V.19 No.33 • Aug 19-25, 2010 ››
Responses to Last Week’s “Rainbow Warrior” Arts Feature
Readers had a lot to say about last week’s arts feature: an interview with a person claiming responsibility for the controversial rainbows dripping down the sides of buildings around Albuquerque. Behold the vivd commentary.
The Rainbow Connection
Thank you for your cover story on the rainbow artist. Every time I see one of his creations, I catch my breath in wonder and admiration.
He has done much to beautify the ugly browns and grays of abandoned eyesores and deserves to be rewarded for this generous gift to the city of Albuquerque.
Free Ernest Doty!
I really enjoyed this interview, but I thought the piece kind of buried the lede though, as it mentions only briefly in its introduction that one of the city's most innovative studio artists, Ernest Doty, has been arrested (and is being held in custody!) as a suspect. That guy should be given the key to the city, not a cell without a key.
There's also that quote from Chief Public Safety Officer Darren White, who says, "The only person who thinks it's great is the person who did it. We don't."
This displays such a narrow view of what local culture is that it astounds me. You don't speak for me, Darren White! Is culture only what can be commodified and registered with the local chamber of commerce? Is it only what looks good in promotional dining guides?
Or is true culture what truly comes from the people, that which sprouts up like rainbow-colored tendrils from the farthest reaches of the world of the city, that grows best under moonlight, and that leaves the places it found more interesting, more alive and more of a someplace that's for everyone?
Is New York City's culture just a collection of businesses that one can enjoy one's self at while spending money? Is San Francisco's? Is Albuquerque's? Such a mindset is reductive and austere and untrue at best, and all efforts to make it true only help make our cities more boring.
Art as Inspiration
This artist's work is an inspiration—we should be praising him with public applause. ... Arrest is merely another example of the misappropriation of public dollars used under the myopic auspices of APD and Waste Management. This artist is bringing something beautiful to our city—this is not graffiti, this is not defacement of property—art is not a crime.
Recently he painted one of his rainbows on the decrepit west wall of the Red Wing shoe store in Nob Hill. He made an eyesore beautiful for the short time it lasted—until they came and painted it over. No, they didn't paint over the entire wall, perhaps using the rainbow as an excuse to refurbish the aged paint-job—they left the rest of the rotting paint, merely painting over the strip that was his rainbow. This tiny anecdote (along with the asinine comment of Darren White above—which we can only assume is the established viewpoint of our city government) serves as a reminder of the ignorance and miscalculated virtues of the government which should be serving us.
I say we should take up the artist's vocation in his absence—use alley walls and arroyo ditches and stagnated construction projects as canvases of public inspiration. Bring art out of neat-and-tidy galleries and into the realm where it can truly make a difference. Stop confusing projects of beautification with violence toward property; start expanding our concepts of imagination and reconceiving the ways in which artistry serves the public good as an instrument of catharsis.
[An] artist's detainment is an abomination of justice, a waste of public funds, and a blight on the moral standing of our community. I have lost what little respect I had for the city government of Albuquerque. The fact that this post may seem hyperbolic and my demands absurd to most readers only serves to show the extent of contemporary disrespect for the arts and the naiveté of those who elevate property over the public good.
Darren White Is WRONG
I've been loving those rainbows! They honestly brighten our community, and I've often marveled at the skill in both paint control and acrobatics it must take to pull those off. And no ugly signature. It's not about gangs claiming territory or public defacement, it's about public ENHANCEMENT. It's a gift that I have thoroughly enjoyed receiving.
Now as for Ernest Doty, the man is a pillar of the Albuquerque art scene. He has been an important figure for years through his work with Cirq, public mural projects, a clothing line and gallery showings. ... The real crime here is that we might now be losing a vital member of the local arts community—someone who cares enough to bring culture to the people through a variety of completely legal channels.
APD wasting resources to track down the most inoffensive public artist around? Sounds like par for the course, and absolutely wrong-headed. Why don't we spend money taking care of ACTUAL PROBLEMS? This city has plenty.
Misuse of Money and Resources
Last time I checked, Ernest Doty has never followed my roommate and his girlfriend home brandishing a KNIFE and shouting like a madman, though someone, who as far as I know was not apprehended, did just that last week. Yet, law enforcement seems to have devoted a great deal of time, energy and resources to finding Ernest, arresting him, charging him and now a court date too. I want to see my neighborhood be safe enough to walk around in after dark, not Ernest thrown in jail. ... Darren White should get his head out of his ass and protect this city's PEOPLE.
Let’s Try Something Different
Street art is welcome, often regardless of meaning or quality, in most of the world. It is viewed as the right of public to participate in the aesthetics of their community, and that public expression is no less important than the business/corporate opinion of what public aesthetics should be. We, on the other hand, have completely surrendered to a normative dominance, and only the most powerful entities may set the standard of beauty. Darren White speaks with the voice of tight control, and from the mind where behavioral standards are the most sacred defense against the chaos waiting around the edges of our lives. I understand this fear, but I encourage you: Walk out into the chaos. There are people who will shock you with their will to create.
Waste Waste Waste
Why is this such a big deal? It’s actually really pretty I think, but you know what isn't? The fact that taxpayer money and time is wasted on such a little thing. It’s not a threat! Stop talking about this person like he painted it in blood. He hurt no one. He snuck into a deserted, ugly building and did something to make it pretty. Why don't the police go bust a meth lab? Or stop crazies like the one annareser described? People could get hurt and the ones sworn to serve and protect are worrying about some paint drips. Way to go, APD!!
I feel several things. First of all, I think it looks OK. Why is this making such big news? And why is everyone standing up for someone who goes around dumping paint on someone else's property? Would you applaud me if I went through neighborhood painting something that “I think is inspirational" all over a bunch of passed out drunk folk? Or maybe if I decided I liked all your bicycles and cars painted a different color. Would it be okay for me to do so under the idea that a majority of people would agree since it is "Art."
If someone owns a building and they want it painted up. I'm pretty sure they would contact an “artist” and “hire” them to do the work. It happens all the time. You can see murals all over this town, with signatures. Of course this rainbow child needs to be legit to be contacted.
Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter. Word count limit for letters is 300 words.