The Art & Charlie Blog

Art Attack -Vandalism or Free Speech?

Art Attack -Vandalism or Free Speech?

In 1985, the infamous Grey Organisation carried out an ‘art attack’ on Cork Street, one of the main attractions in the art scene of London. The nonconformist artist collective smeared grey paint across the windows of all the galleries on the street as a form of resistance against the ‘boring and lifeless’ culture of the uptight London art world that did not support emerging artists. In the act of seeking attention, the staged vandalism was documented and the artists were banned from Central London.

“This action is a statement and should not be interpreted as vandalism,” was the accompanying announcement of the collective on site which also had an advertisement for their own exhibition.

Almost 40 years after the incident, in January 2022, the documentation of the attack was exhibited in The Mayor Gallery, one of the galleries that was vandalized. The organisation finally made it to the exclusive world of London galleries that they once criticized when one of the members of the organization collaborated with the curator of the gallery. The exhibition had police statements, letters from lawyers, news clippings, and a tin of grey paint, as a testimonial to the event.

1. The Grey Organisation's act of splattering grey paint on the windows of famous art galleries on Cork Street, London (1985)


2. Cork Street Attack as the subject of an exhibition at The Mayor Gallery, one of the galleries the artist collective vandalised (2022)



3. Anti establishment artist collective The Grey Organisation


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