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What's Behind LA's Graffiti Explosion?

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Updated 4:08 pm: Street art, or tagging depending on your view, is more common than ever in LA--up 8.2 percent from last year--as well as in other cities, and The New York Times throws around a lot of theories about the increase in a new story. In LA, the city that figures most prominently in the piece, the budget to remove graffiti was cut 6.5 percent from the $7.1 million allocated in the 2010 finances--but Santa Monica hasn't cut money for graffiti eradication and tagging there has increased as well. "A general sense of anxiety and malaise" related to the shitty economy could be behind it, the NYT supposes. While Ramona Findley, an LAPD detective who heads the department's graffiti task force, is probably closer to the truth when she says pop culture has made graffiti cool (and not just with people in gangs), e.g. Banksy's movie Exit Through the Gift Shop. Upping the cool factor, LA is currently hosting two street art exhibits--one at the Sunset Marquis Hotel in West Hollywood (Update: that show actually closed June 30) and a controversial show at Little Tokyo's Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, which led directly to tagging around the neighborhood.
· Cities Large and Small Report Surge in Graffiti [NY Times]
· MOCA's Street Art Show Inspires Novice Taggers [Curbed LA]