Artist Bill Drummond defaced a UKIP billboard. He isn’t the only one to do this but his intervention has been the most widely reported. The billboard that Mr Drummond worked on is just around the corner from Eastside Projects, where he has been staging a month-long artist’s residency. The painting over the poster was one of his artworks.
UKIP’s West Midlands spokesman Bill Etheridge called this “mindless vandalism” as well as making a formal complaint to the police.
In fact this was a very mindful act, as the artist explained eloquently well before Mr. Etheridge made his comments. Drummond’s statement has been widely disseminated and it provides a clear and thoughtful rationale for the work; this was not, therefore, a “mindless” act.
For a performance artist to be described in these terms is potentially harmful to their ability to work especially when this has been reported in the national media and may be the first contact with the artist’s work for many people.
The action, Drummond admits, is an act of vandalism but not an act of mindlessness. Artists and citizens should be able to enact dissent. Where their act of dissent involves a criminal activity, those harmed should have full recourse to the law but they should not be allowed to denigrate the sentiments of the act.
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We should point out that the artist has not asked for this to happen. If, in the event that we hit our target and we have the money available, Mr Drummond would prefer not to sue UKIP we will ask him to nominate an arts based charity to receive the funds.