Monday, October 4, 2010

Brisbane Council destroys Anthony Lister mural, shit is stirred

Brisbane Council's Graffiti Reduction Unit buffed an Anthony Lister mural in Fortitude Valley recently.

The owner of the building it was on - located in a vacant block - commissioned the piece last month.

The destruction of the mural begs the question: Why were Brisbane Council workers buffing on private property?

(The destroyed mural. Image Source)

Ten News jumped on this story (clip at top). It sourced comment from Lister, who was in New York, then added council bashing commentary to it.

The story was also covered in Brisbane's Courier Mail (link) and on pop culture website Pedestrian TV (link).

In its story, Ten News superimposed an image of Lister with his comments:

But the person in this photo isn't Lister. This is the original photo:

Pictured on the left is Anthony Lister, to the right is artist Mark Gonzales.

Hope Lister doesn't get annoyed at Ten News too. Maybe next time he should give the ABC an exclusive.

In the Courier Mail's article, Brisbane Council said to rectify the gaffe it would create a mural database where artists can 'register' murals to prevent destruction.

This is a good idea to preserve public art, but is obviously irrelevant to street artists working illegally.

Councils wantonly destroying street art and graffiti has divided public opinion. This was seen after Melbourne Council workers destroyed a Banksy stencil in April, followed by Beastman and Numskull who painted a mural the following month telling the NSW Government to 'eat a dick'.

This is endemic of the free speech-government dichotomy. Fringe artists want space to work in, politicians want to uphold the status quo.

Look at NSW opposition leader Barry O'Farrell. He recently upped the War on Graffiti ante with a pledge to create a Graffiti Hotline if the Liberal Party is elected next March.

Yes, you'll be able to call Bazza and report "graffiti attacks" threatening to destroy your city.

But recent media coverage of street art shows public sentiment leans farther in its favour.

With enough support, all Australian cities would become more like Melbourne - embracing a strong street art and graffiti culture.


Anonymous said...

Yeh it happens. If art gets buffed just have to accept it.
As long as it gets up

Colin Hubert said...

I agree with above.

If it were too legal, and / or too easy to get away with, ie no risk, where would be the kudos in getting up?

Part of its value as rhetoric and art is in its illegality, and the fact that it might soon be buffed.

Acid Midget said...

Well said Colin.

Callum said...

i hear you guys, but i am not an artist, just a fan of graf. when good graf is buffed my city is less beautiful to me, it's not like i get the thrill of gettin up, all i have to enjoy is the finished products but unfortunately too often they aren't around to enjoy for long...

Acid Midget said...

I hear you Callum.
I say enjoy the graf while it's there mate.