Usually when I see graffiti there’s some weird part of my brain that kicks up all the art history and criticism I’ve ever read and automatically tries to place it in some kind of meaningful context. I ask myself some of the standard questions a museum curator, gallery owner, critic, or art historian might ask, like, What does this mean? What was the artist trying to say? How does this fit into the culture in which it was created? I guess the one question I don’t have to ask that a museum curator probably thinks about is, How much does this cost? The gallery owner probably thinks, How much can I get for this? And if it’s a collector and not the artist selling it they’re thinking, Let’s claim this is worth a completely ridiculous amount, because, you know, those absurd art prices for junk we’ve all heard about are really a scam pulled by rich people to have a big tax write-off, but that’s another story.
Sometimes, though, none of that happens. Sometimes I just see some graffiti, laugh, and go on, and that’s all there is.