Guerrero gallery bites Zero Graffiti convention

Look familiar? Guerrero Gallery copped the design from an anti-graff convention for its new exhibition.

"The difference between art and vandalism is permission." So said Dwight Waldo, retired San Bernadino cop, at the Zero Graffiti convention earlier this month in San Francisco. The event drew law enforcement officials from multiple countries, convening them for lectures on graffiti prevention, on street art's connection to gangs and hate speech, and on ways to apprehend graffiti artists ("the Internet" figured prominently here, judging from the talks I managed to catch during the convention's public portion.) In his talk, Waldo prided himself on shutting down a graffiti-inspired legal art show because it was being organized by an illegal graffiti artist. 

But it would appear that the art community isn't satisfied with allowing those that hold the anti-graffiti wipes to be the arbiters of taste. The folks at Guerrero Gallery have branded their show opening Sat/2 with Zero Graffiti's imagery to put scrutiny on San Francisco and other cities' efforts to repress graffiti.

"As for stopping graffiti... we should nourish it," wrote gallery owner Andres Guerrero to me in an email. "The city's effort to rid us of graffiti is a concern but graffiti will always be around. It's an inspiring form of creativity that all demographics have accepted and have supported. It's a growing culture that should be embraced and developed with the help of local communities. It's a leading contemporary movement."

The convention's program, including ad for "spraycan sensor" that SF DPW officials confirmed have been purchased by the city. It's been announced that next year's conference will take place in Phoenix

The exhibit's artists, Tim Diet and Remio, are both established gallery artists who got their start doing illegal graffiti. "It's an exciting show for all of us at the gallery and they also represent a progressive intelligent community," wrote Guerrero.

Given the dire state of arts education in the San Francisco Unified School District, perhaps city officials should start looking at graffiti artists in a different light. After all, if young people can't find canvases elsewhere, why shouldn't they make their mark on their neighborhood?

Project One opens "Project One Walls," an indoor mural show, on Feb. 7. It'll feature the work of current and former street artists and looks real cool. 

Here's the Guerrero Sat/2 opening's featured artists, both of whom started developing their art on the street: 

Norweigan-born artist Remio's cluster faces still drip -- but they're emblematic of his transition from street work to showing in galleries

Bay Area artist Tim Diet's "Sorry I Party" still embodies the chaos of work born in public space

"Man In Transition" and "This is Me": Remio and Tim Diet

Through Feb. 23

Opening reception: Sat/2, 7-11pm, free

Guerrero Gallery

(415) 400-5168


Lets call it what it is. The article is titled "Guerrero gallery bites Zero Graffiti convention," but the truth is Guerrero Gallery used the the Zero Graffiti International Conference (ZGIC) logo without permission to promote their event.

This is not called biting, this is copyright infringement.

Contrary to what Guerrero Gallery may think, they aren't sticking it to the man or the ZGIC. Guerrero Gallery is stealing from the owner of this logo, a freelance graphic designer in the So. Bay.

Posted by M. Rose on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 2:36 pm

As a presenter at the conference I read this article with great interest. I was much more interested in what was left out and misquoted than what was reported. The first day of the conference was open to anyone interested, free of charge, to allow them to gain information on the subject of graffiti.

Many people believe all graffiti is illegal, which is not the case. I focused on five types of illegal graffiti broken down into communicative, hate, gang, tagger, and the anomoly. I then spent an extended period of time discussing legal graffiti art, a concept many people are not familliar with. During question and answer I defended the constitutional right to creat and display legal graffiti style art. I felt it was important to show legal graffiti artists are not predetermined to be involve in any of the illegal cultures.

I did shut down a graffiti art show, but not for the reason reported. The event was billed as an art of the street show but was organized by a subject on active probation for manufacture and sales of methamphetamine, with no ties to graffiti art. I talked with him a couple of days after and he played answering machine recordings of upset attendees who threatened to kill him for cancelling the show. In all these recordings I could hear the sound of shotguns and handguns being racked. So I found an event marketed to juveniles and young adults being run by a narcotics dealer. It was being attended by subjects possessing guns who would kill someone over a cancellation. I did shut it down and would do so again. Maybe someone is alive right now because of my actions. This had nothing to do with art.

As to why people should not be allowed to use walls as canvases, the answer is two fold. If they get permission and it is not illegal, there is no problem. If they choose to vandalize, it is against the law, just like anything from running a red light to murder. If someone does not agree with the law they have only to change it.

All this information was presented during my lecture but apparently it did not fall in line with the biased reporting of the article. It is easier to create hate and fear with well crafted lies of omission than with the truth.

The bottom line is, as a law enforcement officer, I have no real feelings pro or con about legal graffiti art. I have always had plenty to do dealing with those who violate the law and victimize the innocent.

Dwight Waldo

Posted by Guest on Feb. 01, 2013 @ 6:49 pm

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