Graffiti artist Rainbow Warrior in Albuquerque finds drab buildings and “improves” them by spilling paint to pour “illegal rainbows”
off their tops.
City officials are angry and threaten to go after the “knuckleheads” behind the scheme, but Ingrid Fetell of Aesthetics of Joy asks whether the rainbows – while illegal – can still be joyful:
I find this tension – between the forbidden act of graffiti, technically vandalism, and the delight people are discovering as a consequence – acutely compelling. Is an illegal rainbow still joyful? Here’s a letter writer commenting on the rainbow warrior situation:
So, somebody lays down a rainbow on the thing, a piece of art (and yes, it is art, even if it is “free,” and maybe especially so) that pokes fun at the mess, that makes me grin and say, “That’s a little better!” As a life-long citizen of Albuquerque, as someone
who has had his very personal property damaged by genuinely malicious individuals: this isn’t the same thing. Is it graffiti? Yeah. Is it the same as somebody tagging a vulgar word on the car my parents gave me when I went to college? No. The intention of the rainbows is perhaps mischievous, but it is definitely not malicious. The intention, and the execution, is a wink, a laugh, a little unexpected burst. Worth a slap on the wrist and a good talking to, nothing more.