Justin Bieber Rio Graffiti: Art Or Just Another Random Tag

The latest story breaking out of Rio de Janeiro concerns the baby faced pop star Justin Bieber, who has allegedly been charged by police with the minor offence of defacing a public building with graffiti. Although this is a crime punishable with up to one year in prison, it is unlikely that the incident will be taken further. The singer who is on tour in Latin America was photographed yesterday, in the early hours of the morning spraying a series of heads some wearing baseball caps or Mickey Mouse ears onto a hotel wall. He also sprayed the words Respect Privacy a quip at the paparazzi that follow him 24/7. Brazil’s civil police force reported to the BBC that Justin Bieber had been charged with “defacing a building or urban monument by graffiti or other means”. He did not have permission to create the tag on the wall of the premises.

But Is It Art? Not really if you compare his work to the work of Banksy who just finished a one month New York residency, graffitti executed by the master just doesn’t compare. The 31 October (Halloween) was the last day of Banksy’s New York residency which ran for a month in Manhattan. The objective of  the project was to create a new public work of art each day. The pieces ranged from his popular ‘Spray Art’, Sculpture, to Video, and Installation works. The media frenzy created made international headlines. Some of the pieces were sold by the owners of the property, where they were placed. In one case a group of locals covered the artwork and were charging the public $20 to have a peek at the artwork. On another occasion Banksy set up a stall selling original signed canvases for $60. They were worth $20,000 or more on the open market.


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