ART FIGHT: David Lynch Calls The Mural Arts Program’s Plans For Philly Railways A ‘Travesty’


From an interview with Art In America at PAFA on Wednesday, during the press preview for DAVID LYNCH:THE UNIFIED FIELD:

ART IN AMERICA: Philadelphia’s Mural Arts program just completed a project in which they invited Berlin artist Katharina Grosse to spray paint the wayside of the rail line through Philadelphia.

LYNCH: A travesty in my book. Unreal. The walls on railroad lines, they were built so beautifully. They say that style follows function—every detail of how they put one thing together with another: the electric wires, the stonework, the plaster work, the metal of the windows, the railroad signs—all of this stuff is like beautiful sculpture. And as it gets older it just gets richer and more beautiful. They’re sacred things, and you should never deface them. MORE

MURAL ARTS RESPONDS: At Mural Arts, we were a bit perplexed reading those comments side by side. We agree with Lynch that many of that the structures along the railways are architectural beauties and that was in fact part of the inspiration for psychylustro, and in many ways, the entire project was an effort to use temporary paint to draw people’s eyes back to the amazing but often ignored architectural and natural environments in the Northeast Rail Corridor. Still, the Northeast Rail Corridor was not a pristine place before Grosse’s project. Every structural site Grosse worked at was covered in graffiti before her team began painting. The buildings were already, from Lynch’s perspective, defaced and ruined. We’ve even been criticized in some circles for painting over so much graffiti in the process of installing psychylustro. However, what most people did not know until now is that we brought the legendary documentary photographer Martha Cooper to Philadelphia just before the installation of psychylustro so that she could document the graffiti along the Northeast Rail Corridor. MORE