I grew up in an era when graffiti was considered artistic anarchy - I loved it and still do! (At one time I wrote a paper on the question of art vs. vandalism - a challenging subject!) Recently I was very excited to be able to visit the Beyond The Streets exhibit in Brooklyn (after following this organization on Instagram and enjoying the Los Angeles exhibit from a distance) and it was fantastic. The art form has evolved from the days of my youth from simple tags to the current mega-murals that beautifully occupy the sides of buildings, among other locations. This exhibit does a wonderful job of putting into context the evolution of the art form and the artists who risked life, limb, and police action to produce their pieces. Social commentary and artistic expression are not strange bedfellows, but this art was immediate in an era when mobile communication meant yelling out a window, carrying protest signs, or using a walkie-talkie (but only within range). The political and social environment was challenging and these artists took to the streets to share their opinions and in the process participated in creating legacies that have stood the test of time and helped bring amazingly creative art into the mainstream.
The three pieces above by Dan Witz.