Today’s reading and class got a lot of questions going. The politically charged art of Dadaist and Situationists reminds me very much of the street art I see today. Conceptual street art is all about leaving a mark to contribute to the public and the public space in some way; as Dadaist’s would put it “art for art’s sake.” Concepts associated with street art are themes of labor conditions, freedom, political power, homelessness, global warfare, capitalism, poverty, religious thought, and civil rights. However, the relationship between advertising and street art is multi-layered and often contradictory, regarding media, aesthetics, and propaganda proliferation. Many street artists today produce public work through commerce or for sale while still questioning capitalism’s effect on society. Which leads me to my questions.. how much does our capitalist evaluation of art infiltrate pubic art?  Does the commercialization of conceptual street art undermine the work’s message and overall form of resistance? Can street artists address the complications of broader exposure and viewership? What is the street artist’s claim to public space and why would a street artist think they can profit off of public space so directly and still retain the respect of the community? Are they mimicking the corporate world’s continuous land grab for public space? There are no clear answers to maintaining the integrity of an idea through a visual medium.
Take Banksy for example. His work epitomizes the over commercialization of street art. He is one of the most notorious street artist but many believe he is doing little more than pandering to the mainstream. To start, his art is completely derivative of another stencil artist from France named Blek Le Rat. And while conceptual art is all for reworking and reusing old forms of representation, an artists who constantly makes arguments based on the class system should not sell art entirely as their own genius and make a small fortune. 9f8906f1174e35bb470cedf5b2b1f72c While many people can make the argument that Banksy is a victim of his own success, his works are still provocative, and that an artist needs to eat, he turned a mediocre sarcastic attitude into a multimillion dollar brand.

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One response »

  1. evbeel says:

    I’m glad someone brought up Banksy, he’s from my home university in Bristol and you can see his work all over the city. Have you seen the documentary exit through the gift shop about his work?
    Last year he also opened a theme park called ‘dismaland’ which was an art exhibition designed to purposefully turn the brand of Disney on its head. The staff were purposefully rude and the whole look of it was like a run down old industrial town. The videos of that are also interesting.

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