Saturday, November 06, 2010

Art is in the Eyes of the Beholder

Somehow and for some reason, I happened to mention in one of my classes last week the foreigners' first lasting impression of Budapest that I hear repeatedly. 
"I have never seen so much graffiti anywhere as there is here." 

One student volunteered the fact that they allowed graffiti artists to decorate one of the metro stops, Moszkva tér. I had to investigate this outdoor gallery of post-modernism expression. Expecting murals to some titillation to a square that looks like post-modern devastation, disappointment was sure to be engraved in my expectations. 

There are only trinkets to brighten ones’ outlook if one has the imagination of a circus contortionist. Amongst the objects described as décor are six painted rock like structures that are meant to function as seats. Yet they are so low to the ground, the average robust person will need a crane to help them return to a full-length vertical status. 

In the distance, now visible are decorated boxes that look like they fell from a carnival trailer as it was passing through town. If they existed prior to painting, they were invisible in their surroundings. That is how they should have remained.

Ron’s friend Martha sent him a blog post from an Iowa writer who is here visiting for two months. One of her posts just happened to be about graffiti, so I mention it to my students via e-mail. As I was typing I went blank on how to spell Moszkva tér, it is so entirely different from English you can see (wink, wink). Being rooted to my chair and knowing if I try to stand, my legs will protest for the next two hours. I just looked it up on the web.

I went to, the official site for Budapest public transportation. The site immediately translates to English. Thank you Google! When I reached metro line schedules, I was thankful I didn't have a mouthful of tea, water, wine, or a healthy mouthful of saliva. They list the last red metro station translated into English as “South Station - Leader of Criminality Square”. Wow, talk about truth in advertising, perfect. Moszkva tér is shown as Moscow Space. The next time I am around there, I will have to take better notice to see if Moscow space feels any different from Hungarian space. Could there be any relationship to SPUTNIK? 
One of the students did a follow up with these links to 

Budapest graffiti art. Again, some may use the term art more loosely than others.
Art Gallery - Click here and then on the arrow on the page to move forward.
Wall Art - Click here.
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