<body> Public Ad Campaign: Graffiti Trains VS Ad Wrapped Trains: What a Shame
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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Graffiti Trains VS Ad Wrapped Trains: What a Shame

Animal New York reports that it has been 21 years since the MTA implemented its clean train policy in an effort to end graffiti ridden subway cars. The program was put in place because it was thought the graffiti contributed to a sense of degrading social control resulting in high NYC crime rates and the general economic plight. To the MTA and the city at large, these public murals literally signified a loss of control. The truth was less succinct and the Graffiti was arguably a profound contribution to the landscape of our transit system as well as a cutting edge art form developing right before our eyes. Nonetheless, bureaucratic control stepped in to eliminate the "threat".
Now instead of the cutting edge art by local urban artists (for free), corporate america is adorning our subways with much less interesting aesthetic creations. If the graffiti wrapped subway cars signified a loss of bureaucratic control, the ad wrapped trains represent a loss of public control of our subway system and visual culture at large. The fact that in an aggressive move the city wiped out the artistic productions of our cities youth and only 21 years later wholeheartedly supports commercial abuse of public space, speaks volumes about the state of our public spaces in general. For whom do these spaces serve? What values do our public environments promote when commerce is held in higher esteem than the residents of our city?
In 1989, the MTA implemented its most successful strategy for eliminating graffiti from the transit system bypulling painted trains from service, denying the roving canvasses an opportunity to traverse the city. Well, 21 years later, that era is over, assuming the ones doing the graphics are paid advertisers, like this fully wrapped whole car promoting Target’s new store in East Harlem. |Photo: SAS|

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