This Saturday, January 28, the multidisciplinary arts organization Real Art Ways will present a panel discussion on the controversy surrounding collage street artist Poster Boy, aka Henry Matyjewicz. Back in September, Poster Boy faced censorship when Connecticut’s Trinity College first postponed and then cancelled his show Street Alchemy on claims that some of the work in the exhibition used stolen public advertisements. Poster Boy is known for cutting and pasting Subway ads to create satirical collages and has openly admitted to stealing images from public ads.
After the show was called off, Real Art Ways decided to take it under their wing with the new title Street Alchemy 2.0, which opened on October 20 2011. With this panel discussion, Real Art Ways plans to address the many issues that have arisen out of the controversy, touching on the value of billboards and ads and artists’ rights when it comes to appropriation.
Will K. Wilkins, Executive Director of Real Art Ways, provided this statement to Hyperallergic on what he hopes will come out of the discussion:
We’re hoping that the discussion results in a deeper understanding of the many issues involved in Poster Boy’s work and its treatment by the college. There is nothing about this situation that is cut and dried. And it may be that people feel they need to take sides. We’re interested in where people agree, and where they don’t.
The response to the exhibition has been positive. It’s obvious that Poster Boy is serious about this work, and it is equally clear that his politics are oppositional.
The panel has invited a diverse array of voices involved in issues related to street art, including Hyperallergic’s editor, Hrag Vartanian, Chris Knopf, CEO of the marketing agency Mintz & Hoke Communications Group, Thomas Menard, an attorney specializing in intellectual property litigation, and Dr. Randy Jacobs, who teaches advertising at the University of Hartford. Marela Zacarias, who has painted public murals in the US, Guatemala and Mexico, will moderate the discussion and provide an artist’s perspective.
The “Poster Boy” Panel Discussion will take place on Saturday, January 28 2012 at 7:30 pm at Real Art Ways (56 Arbor Street , Hartford, Connecticut). This event is free. Street Alchemy 2.0 will be on view at Real Art Ways until Sunday, January 29, 2012.
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