October 20, 2010
Blek Le Rat 1
Blek Le Rat 2
David Choe – Barak Obama
For years graffiti was considered to be a blot on an urban landscape, the blight of neighbourhoods trying to preserve a squeaky clean image of a town and the bane of councillors’ lives. In recent years graffiti has lost many of its negative connotations, has reinvented itself and emerged as one of the hottest new forms of art in 2010. The curse of graffiti has given way to a surge in street art and the world of art is embracing it with respect, vigour and passion.
So intense is the renewed enthusiasm towards street art, that prestigious art galleries across the globe are showcasing the best international street artists. Façonnable takes a look at the best of this fashionably revered new artistic talent.
Of course developing graffiti from being a tiresome blight to an admired art form did not happen over night. Its origins immediately spring back to Paris in the 1980s, when Blek Le Rat, the ‘Godfather’ of stencil graffiti art, revolutionalized Paris’s art scene, with his original street paintings. Think also of London’s Banksy, who with his satirical street art has become a pseudonym of a British artist and political activist.
Whilst this form of art may not be essentially new, it is becoming more widespread and accepted into the most elite and prestigious of galleries and collections. In contemporary Australia there is a new generation of street artists emerging, who are being lapped up by some of the world’s leading art galleries. Amongst the Andy Warhol, Damien Hurst and Pablo Picasso paintings, London’s Opera Gallery has a collection of the crème de la crème of street art surfacing from Australia.
Whilst in the States street art is also being deemed with a similar zest. In April next year, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, USA, is to hold an event dedicated to the street art retrospective. Whilst in Russia, despite penalties being high for graffitists, Moscow is increasingly becoming an arena for both local and international street artists.
One theme consistently recurs throughout these different nations’ dedication to promoting graffiti as a respected artistic practise – that it creates a dialogue within a community.
Graffiti may have always been an act of self-expression and even rebellion, but like with all rebellious movements they are better off regulated than reprimanded, and in the case of street art, it is being flaunted in the sacrosanct of ways possible – in some of the most elite art galleries in the world.