How Long Can Street Art Last?

November 1, 2013 – In The News
Art Newspaper

Daniel A. Schnapp was quoted in the Art Newspaper article "How Long Can Street Art Last?" While the full text can be found in the November 1, 2013, issue of Art Newspaper, a synopsis is noted below.

A legal battle between a group of artists and the owner of a New York graffiti complex scheduled to be demolished could fundamentally change the way street art is viewed. In the lawsuit, the artists say that their murals, which were painted with the owner’s permission, are protected under the 1990 Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA) and should not be destroyed along with the buildings.

For works to be protected under VARA, they must be recognized as having artistic merit. Daniel Schnapp argues that a work does not lack stature just because it is occasionally painted over. “Graffiti does not typically have the same cachet as an Old Master paining, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have significant artistic merit, particularly in urban areas,” Schnapp says.

Attorneys predict the case could be difficult to try before a jury. “You have two very different interests competing in a primitive battle between art and commerce,” Schnapp says.