This month, the British government revoked laws that protected the rights of squatters. Police immediately began operations to remove around 20,000 people from buildings all over the country. For now, other governments in Europe are remaining tolerant, recognising maybe that in cities like Paris (notably La Maison de la Plage and La Générale in Belleville) and Berlin, colorful, lively art squats are elemental to the cultural fabric – and yeah, even the economy – of big city life.
The knee-jerk British action might well sound the death knell for a BritArt Vers. 2.0 and 3.0 in the years ahead, depriving young artists of much-needed, inexpensive studio and living spaces and depriving Britain of the same kind of economic and social shot in the arm BritArt Ver. 1.0, led by the likes of Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry, gave it at the beginning of this century.