Street art has a long and controversial history but in recent years it has evolved and has been reinvented as a form of high art.
It was created as a way to convey political or social ideas in public places. Street art tends to happen in urban areas and is connected in certain ways to graffiti. But what is the difference? When is it considered vandalism and when is it considered art?
Graffiti usually refers to “guerrilla” artwork. It began in NY in the ‘60s and ‘70s (some people consider its beginning in the 20s and 30s) associated to gang groups as a way to mark their territory. Graffiti or tagging, was done on buildings, subways and bridges. The more inaccessible the places to tag, the better or more valued.
Street art and graffiti became such a big movement, that in 2011 the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles dedicated an entire show to this artform calling it, “Art in the Streets”. It was the most ambitious and most attended exhibition in MOCA LA's history.
Over the years, this subversive way of expression gained respect and attention creating a new and limitless space for art: this time in the streets and outside of galleries or exclusive venues.
Numerous groups of rebellious artists emerged, creating a new landscape for socio political activism: Resist with art.
Global warming, inequality, immigration, safety, education and technology are some of the global issues that are portrayed in public spaces; and the list goes on.
Below, you will find some of the most renown artists from all over the world who have been transforming the connection between cities + art and the art scene in general.
THE REBEL BEAR (Scotland)
OS GEMEOS (Brazil)
Over the years as street art became more appreciated, some artists, previously in the shadows, obtained an incredible amount of popularity and recognition. Their art increased its value to the point of reaching auction houses around the world. The best example is Bansky’s “Girl with Ballon” at Sotheby’s which shredded itself becoming a new piece of art. Like Alex Branczik, (Sotheby’s head of contemporary art in Europe) said: “Banksy didn’t destroy an artwork in the auction, he created one” (ARTNews)