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When Graffiti Strikes Back

We’ve written a few times about what we call reverse incentives: comedian and activist Dick Gregory‘s use of the N word; Planned Parenthood turning abortion protestors into a fund-raising scheme; and the “pledge-a-picket” drive.

The latest instance comes from fashion designer Marc Jacobs. It began when the graffiti artist Kidult vandalized Jacobs’s SoHo shop by scrawling “ART” across the storefront. A Twitter war followed, but Jacobs wasn’t done. As The New York Observer reports:

Rather than end this thing in a stalemate, Marc Jacobs and his team have taken this thing one step further, making very clear his subversion of the supposed subverter. How?

He made a T-Shirt of the entire episode.

Even better? According to the Marc Jacobs Twitter, “Available now for $689. Signed by the artist, $680.” And according to The Cut, yes, they’re actually selling it.

Jacobs, in this situation, has made one hell of a commentary about the absurd commoditization that some street art has yielded, and how easily ostensibly subversive art can actually be subverted, facile as it so often is, and it may be the best take on the matter since Exit Through the Gift Shop.

P.S.: If you haven’t yet seen Exit Through the Gift Shop, you must. It is excellent, whether it’s a stunt or not. And the closing song, Richard Hawley‘s “Tonight The Streets Are Ours” is a pop miracle.