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CYC-Online 100 MAY 2007
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moments with youth

The New Salons

Mark Krueger

In a previous column I wrote about a meeting I had attended in our community to discuss the use of offensive language and images in rap music. I also wrote earlier about the concerns and misunderstandings people had about graffiti art. Recent events in the U.S. have further heightened the need for these discussions.

A few day ago I rented and watched a documentary about the impressionist artists and their struggle for acceptance in the French salons. Seen as outsiders because they painted outdoors, these now famous artists had to develop their own ways and studios to have their work viewed by the public.

In relating all this to youth and their development in contemporary societies and cultures, I could not help but wonder if in the midst of debates and efforts to discourage offensive language and images we might also be stifling very legitimate forms of expression? In the proper contexts, graffiti art, rap, and hip hop are beautiful and power vehicles of expression for young people. It is sad and infuriating that they have been appropriated by gangs and greedy corporations. So I wrote this fragment poem to frame the questions in a slightly different way.
The New Salons

"Nobody wants it

on their garage door" ďbut itís art"

"thatís questionable"

this is my court

the hip hopster tells

the judge

politicians, neighbors and

skateboard shop owners

the marketplace

sitting in review

of tagging

making art

impressions (ists)

working outdoors

on streets, traffic signs

and park benches

without gallery

except Philly

and high fashion


appropriated by gangs

and corporations

marking place

deafened and blinded

by misogyny and greed without self

homophobic rappers

seek attention

while others

claiming turf

like Cezanne reach

over and over

and over again

and leave behind


of light and dark

on urban landscapes

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