While I am not a lawyer nor claim to be, I would argue ownership of building property as artistic surface/media and the right to said property not to be defaced, quality of work notwithstanding. Unless, the current owner also owned the property and/or at that time permission was granted to said artists. I do not see graffiti as protected. Paint on my car without my permission, etc. I own the canvas, for example. Even the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA) excludes “covering” as a work of visual art and Graffiti is defined as “Drawings that have been scribbled, scratched, or painted illicitly on a wall or other surface, often within public view.” Note the word “illicit,” which means “unlawful [or] forbidden.”
Also, as an artist, I would be bound to the truth of the event, not so much to the painting itself, where the medium is also the message and how that plays itself out pro or con to my initial argument. I believe the surface, using another person’s property, stealing, in effect, the wall upon which to produce my work assumes a temporary impression, a single performance for as long as it may last as understood and agreed to. Also, given I have now been exposed, I may be in danger of arrest and conviction for vandalism.
Still, I would argue under the circumstances given governmental suppression of free speech and economic warfare against the American People by the government and corporations, oligarchs, and dictators, etc., that the public sphere may now belong to The People, and where they have been so delegated as to be unable to express themselves due to disenfranchisement, they may now be granted permission by default to communicate what is “appreciated primarily or solely for their imaginative, aesthetic, or intellectual content.” See Declaration of Independence, shifting sands doctrine.