Thursday, 5 July 2007

So what actually IS streetart?

The National Gallery is promoting its wares (does it need to?) and is putting 40 works of art on the street . Huge reproductions on vinyl are being placed strategically (streetegically) across London. The project is called Grand Tour and is an interesting one.
What makes it OK for some art work to be shown and not others?
(Banksy's work is now allowed in some cities.)

I presume it is a case of permissions from those who rule and those we must obey. But it is also interesting to see what might happen. Will the meanings of the art change when it is placed out there in the environment? Does streetart change when it is permitted to be there? Is it still real stretart if it has been commissioned? Is it less edgy? Does it lose credibility?

And when you put art out there on the street ... where does the art end? At the edges of the artefact?

I think the meanings of art work derive partly from its provenance - the way it is used, where it has been, how people read it - even interact with it. Will people be upset if someone adds a moustache to the faces on these classical /street art works? More info about the project here.


And are these mashups?

In the meantime other art makes the journey another way ... streetart is sometimes brought off the street into new places. For example there are so many people on Flickr who collect streetart images, collating and cataloguing. How does that change their meanings and their value? The currency is different I think when you bring an image to a webspace; it is partly about the creation of a new piece; partly seeing something first; even about adding to your collection.

People look at streetart differently in the new online context. The images look different when you see them on your pc screen; you experience the art differently and people have taken the shots from particular angles - cutting some bits out and focusing on others.

Certainly I have joined in with this craze of catching streetart (eyes peeled as I walk)...

urban zebra

I have been keen to show all kinds of stuff I have seen - people ignoring it:

stuck in the mud girl

People appreciating it:

no mind games

and people abusing it:


But I am also interested in how LunaPark has recently launched an exhibition of her streetart photography, showing the streetart from a particular locality, in a hall in that locality. There is a reverence and a particular desire to show a full range of streetart in LunaPark's very meticulously catalogued Flickrstream.

Thanks to Gammablog for telling me about this exhibition....

I wonder if all the people who went to the exhibition were people who love streetart. I wonder if anyone went to it, saw it, and looked for the first time at what qualities so much streetart has?

I wonder.

And what of the streetartists? Lots of them love Flickr and learn about each other's art through that space. They have made new contacts with other artists, planned exhibitions and shown their work through Flickr. (Some have told me, but I am not revealing their ID.)

Interesting to compare bloggers with streetartists - they share a belief andor a need to say something - to put stuff out there which will be read - or ignored.

Some people detest Web 2.0 just as some detest graffitti /streetart as it has not been legitimised through the culture mangle. I blogged recently about Andrew Keen's book the cult of the amateur.... Keen is dismissive of those who dare to raise their voices and stick their noses over the parapet. (He is scared they will be better than he is.)

Just as with bloggers there are some good streetartists and some who should practice a bit more ... but who should decide the standard? Who should legitimise?

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