21.8.08

THEY DIDN'T TAG TRAINS IN SINGAPORE. Get caught, get caned. Europe is another matter.

While other tourists were sightseeing in Europe this summer, Jim Clay Harper and Danielle Bremner spray-painted their way across the continent, police say.

Investigators suspect the couple put their respective graffiti tags — "Ether" and "Dani" — on train cars in London; Madrid, Spain; Paris; Frankfurt and Hamburg, Germany, and elsewhere starting in May. When they flew home this week, police officers greeted them with handcuffs.

Bremner was arrested at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on a warrant alleging a graffiti spree that caused tens of thousands of dollars in property damage to New York's transit system. She was being held there Thursday while awaiting extradition to New York.

Harper pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to related charges of felony criminal mischief and burglary after being arrested at John F. Kennedy International Airport. He was released without bail.

Not guilty. I'm surprised the culture-studies weenies haven't already protested the censorship of an authentic art form.

In this case, the charges are felonies because of the degree of damage they are accused of causing.

Bremner, 26, a native New Yorker who attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and also goes by the tag "Utah," has been under investigation for nearly two years, Cooper said. After putting her under surveillance, investigators learned that she was dating Harper, another member of a graffiti underground known for hyping its exploits by posting photos on the Internet, he said.

Harper, 23, of Chicago, was a member of Made U Look, a graffiti crew notorious for plastering a parked subway train top to bottom with a Monopoly board game motif during an overnight raid in late 2006, Cooper said.

"No piece of that train was left uncovered," he said.

Perhaps if the transit authorities would stop selling whole-train advertising space they'd have a better case against what is vandalism, no matter what some latte-sipping aesthetes would have you believe. And perhaps if the latte-sipping aesthetes would stop defining "art" by "context" and "celebrating transgressivity" there'd be less temptation to treat car sides as rolling MFA exhibitions.

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