Award to Artist Who Gives Slums a Human Face

There’s this mystery French graffiti artist who takes photos of locals and plasters their pics on rundown buildings in crappy, poor neighborhoods all over the world – the attached are from Shanghai, but he’s got great ones in Kenya, Brazil, L.A. He just got a grant from the illustrious TED group, and said all the money will be going to create bigger projects. He only goes by initials and always only appears in sunglasses and ski hat, because he’s worried he’ll get arrested, even though his stuff sells at Sotheby’s.

I cannot tell you how cool I think this is. His work is beautiful, surreal, and thereby life-affirming. (It actually reminds me of the use of film in the staging of Brief Encounter.) That’s what I think art is best for – offering proof that life is worth living. Lynda Barry says the same thing, but in a more interesting way – that this is the biological purpose of art, to make sure we keep chugging along. Plus it’s political and gives access to art to folks who might normally get it. Here’s his web site if you want to see his other stuff.

Okay, despite my earlier post, I guess I don’t regret my love of the arts. [Grumble.]

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