File spoon-archives/avant-garde.archive/avant-garde_1996/96-11-03.013, message 132

Subject: Re: Art is Speech: Open Letter to N.Y.C. Officials (fwd)
Date: Fri, 1 Nov 1996 19:45:06 -0500 (EST)
> > Seems to me that street vendors connection to what they sell is personal in
> > the sense that they want to eat and pay rent just like artists. I like
> buying
> > old books, old records, sunglasses, incense, etc. on the street. I don't
> see
> > how art can be valorized as the "better commodity". Now if the artists are
> > GIVING away their art on the street, that's a different story. (G*rd*n):
> >>>>From what I've read, it's settled jurisprudence that speech
> is protected whether or not it's a commodity, and that
> pictures can be a form of speech.  It's not a generic
> philosophical opinion about value, it's a consideration of
> what legal category pictures fall into.
> What I'm getting at, or trying to, is that there's more than speech that I'm
> interested in seeing protected. New York City has a long history of rich
> street and subway culture. Vendors, musicians, performers, dancers, visual
> artists, booksellers, jewelry crafters, second hand clothes and furniture and
> appliances. As well as the posters people create to advertise their events
> (bands, readings, etc.) and/or to solicit students or clients (music
> teachers, language teachers, house cleaners, moving jobs) or to make social
> statements (like the fabulous posters done by the Guerilla Girls).
> All of this has come under severe attack by Guliani. To me, it's not just a
> generic philosophical opinion. I am a resident of this city and have often
> participated in this street and subway culture as a consumer or audience
> member and as an artist who creates posters for fun and to publicize my
> band's gigs.
> Guliani calls it his "quality of life" campaign. But as a citizen who lacks
> the finances to have access to commercial outdoor advertising, and as a
> citizen who values street and subway culture for the freedom and social
> interaction it represents, I think that fighting Guliani on the issue of free
> speech does not go near far enough.  ...

I agree with you.  But the only way I can think of to save
the general culture of the city is to get rid of Giuliani,
something maybe we'll be fortunate enough to do next year. }"{

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