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Evaluating historic graffiti based on cultural significance and definitions of art

Vettese-Forster, Samantha; Forster, Alan M


Alan M Forster


Many examples of historic graffiti have been shown to be worthy of attention and conservation. The examples discussed in this article have been selected for their previous academic study, enabling rational assessment. This work does not suggest that only those examples of historic graffiti that have been subject to academic investigation can be evaluated and classified. This article, the result of a collaboration between two individuals with complementary interests in building conservation and contextual studies in art and design, brings together formal techniques used in the assessment of cultural significance in traditional architectural conservation and established theories in the evaluation of art. It is the purpose of this work to help those who are attempting to evaluate the merit of graffiti to do so.
The current Scottish system that assesses cultural significance may be incomplete in its evaluation of graffiti. This necessitates a supplementary investigation of the artistic characteristics and merit of graffiti.
Almost all graffiti could be said to be 'art', using established definitions, but not 'good' art. This evaluation may only be undertaken by experts, as with other aspects of identification of cultural significance within the built environment.


Vettese-Forster, S., & Forster, A. M. (2012). Evaluating historic graffiti based on cultural significance and definitions of art. Journal of European Popular Culture, 2, 113-128.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 9, 1999
Publication Date Jul 12, 2012
Deposit Date May 29, 2016
Print ISSN 2040-6134
Publisher Intellect
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 2
Pages 113-128
Keywords Historic; graffiti; cultural significance; art;
Public URL
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