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NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg says Banksy doesn't fit his definition of art

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Banksy Slave Labor mural
Banksy Slave Labor mural

Infamous graffiti artist Banksy is making a splash in New York City, and unsurprisingly, the city's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, isn't a fan. Asked about the artist's presence at an unrelated press conference this morning, Bloomberg reiterated that graffiti ruins property. "It's a sign of decay and loss of control," he said. According to Politicker, the mayor added that he doesn't think graffiti is a form of art at all:

Art is art, and nobody's a bigger supporter of the arts than I am. I just think there are some places for art and there are some places [not for] art. And you running up to somebody’s property or public property and defacing it is not my definition of art. Or it may be art, but it should not be permitted. And I think that’s exactly what the law says.

The rhetoric isn't remotely surprising. Mayor Bloomberg launched a citywide grafitti cleanup initative way back in 2002, and has been outspoken about the dangers of grafitti even earlier than that. In 2005, he defended the city's decision to block a grafitti party hosted by Marc Ecko. Ecko later won in court.