Ecko Party Permits Revoked by City of New York
From our friend Bucky Turco
: "THIS IS BULLSHIT! This has nothing to do with permits and everything to do with painting trains."
From Today's New York Times:
City Revokes Party Permit Over Exhibit With Graffiti
By JIM RUTENBERG
The city has revoked a permit awarded to organizers of a block party celebrating graffiti, saying it will not grant another one unless the group scraps plans to have graffiti writers spray paint murals onto models of New York City subway trains. The city acted hours after Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg criticized the plans yesterday.
The block party, scheduled for Aug. 24, was to be held on West 22nd Street by the fashion designer Marc Ecko to celebrate the upcoming release of the video game he designed for Atari, "Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure." The game features characters who vandalize a city called New Radius with graffiti in defiance of a corrupt and tyrannical local government.
Mr. Ecko was granted the permit on July 18, after months of talks with community leaders in Chelsea.
The city revoked the permit yesterday, the same day City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. was quoted in The Daily News as saying the party was "promoting criminal acts."
In agreeing with the councilman, Mr. Bloomberg ventured into a traditionally tricky debate for mayors of a city that is considered a world art capital, namely: When does art cross the line, and when, if ever, should government intervene?
"Look, there is a fine line here between freedom of expression and going out and encouraging people to hurt this city," Mr. Bloomberg said during a visit to a senior citizens center in Queens yesterday. "Defacing subway cars is hardly a joke; encouraging people, kids in particular, to do that after all the money we've spent, all the time we've spent removing graffiti."
A few hours later, the mayor's Office of Community Affairs rescinded Mr. Ecko's permit. The office said it did so because Mr. Ecko had not explained that the event was to promote a video game, which would require a different permit than the one needed for an art exhibition.
The office invited Mr. Ecko to apply for a new permit, and Mr. Bloomberg implied that it would be approved if Mr. Ecko dropped the planned graffiti exhibit.
"We have talked to them and asked them to not have a subway car motif to write graffiti," Mr. Bloomberg said. "This is not really art or expression, this is, let's be honest about what it is: It's trying to encourage people to do something that's not in anybody's interest."
Clint Cantwell, a spokesman for Mr. Ecko, said Mr. Ecko would consider the request but also said he doubted that Mr. Ecko would agree to it. "We're still hoping to find a middle ground with them, but it's an uphill battle for us," he said, adding that the subway graffiti display was "really the heart of this exhibition, and it's celebrating the origins of graffiti in New York City, and that's the canvas we came up with."
He said that the organizers were upfront about the event, and that while they would continue to speak with the city, they were considering finding an alternate location for the event, possibly on private property.
"We're not going to fight City Hall," he said. "We're not going to win.
posted by Wooster on Tuesday, August 16, 2005 | link