07/06/2012 04:52 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Should Street Art Be Framed For Its Own Protection? Reddit Speaks Out (IMAGES)

On Reddit today, user Malicious78 posted a pretty ridiculous looking photo of a Banksy stencil that had recently been covered with plexiglass. The caption reads:

"Grafitti becomes art when the artist becomes famous enough."


The glass does look pretty preposterous there in the middle of an urban street, like a dog dressed up in a holiday sweater. However, what's not so funny is the going price for street art these days. In 2008, the Age (Australia) reported that one of Banksy's stencils allegedly sold on eBay for nearly $500,000, while a tagged "TAKI 183" NYC street map is currently selling for $500 on the site (plus shipping and handling, of course).

The plexiglass photo above spurred an insightful dialogue about what makes street art street art and how it should be protected, if at all. We particularly enjoyed the commentary from DigitalScale, who said:

"Yea, but part of the point of street art is that it's temporary and outside of the mainstream art scene. It's not supposed to be displayed in galleries, framed/protected nor talked about by pretentious arseholes. However sad it may be to see an amazing piece of graffiti destroyed, I'm afraid that is part of what graffiti is about... They are taking it out of "the wild" as you put it and surely it can no longer be considered 'street art' in the classic sense. This goes against the anti-establishment principles of street art."

We recall Shepard Fairey's appearance on the Simpson's where he says to Bart, "Urban vandalism is now the hottest art form there is."

What do you think, readers? Does street art lose its street cred once it is protected by a frame? Let us know your thoughts here, and visit the original Reddit post to get the full context of the debate.