One thing is impossible to escape on arriving in Athens, that in much of the center, and even in large areas in the outlying parts of the city, the walls are covered in graffiti. For block after block, every available space within hand’s reach is spray-painted, and the walker swims through it, drowns in it. This must have been what New York City looked like in the seventies and eighties, a city exploding in color and angst and undirected rage. As I’ve been walking and photographing, it leaves me with mixed emotions. Often, very beautiful buildings are tagged, and their facades marred. The National Archaeological Museum is largely covered with quite ugly-looking political statements. Much of it, however, is beautiful, striking, and compelling, and in the teeth of this crisis, it seems necessary that disempowered youth should take their visions and protests and fears and hopes and whimsies directly to the walls of this ancient city. Where else are they going to leave their mark these days?
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