we like having stuff we like on our walls.
A self-styled accidental gallerist (no apologies necessary), an art establishment academic/critic and a “street art” gallerist spouted off at a panel discussion at Tate Modern on collecting street art.
Pure Evil, the blushing gallerist, blew the debate out of the water with the truism that once it’s in a gallery or a home, street art is just art. Hooray for that truth cos with a lot of so called street art and street artists, it is impossible to see how the label is relevant, it’s just bandwagon jumping. Glazed porcelain street art pistols???
JJ Charlesworth bumbled through his talkie bit but really hit his stride in the Q&A, though it was difficult to concentrate long enough to follow the whole of an answer. He disagrees with Pure Evil, in his view just taking art off streets into a gallery doesn’t make it art. Well at one level he has a point, the barrier to entry is too low and there is some shite which passes muster on streets because it’s up and it’s illegal, which transforms into just shite on gallery walls. Most of it really should remain in the “I made 10 of these and gave 2 to my mum” realm of private hobby art. On the other hand, a decent street artist producing a well composed and executed image with a deliberate designed intent on communicating something is art all the way, regardless.
Charlesworth assassinated a Dotmasters as being by a Notting Hill Trustafarian type who’d never been further east than Cork Street. Knowing that Dotmaster is a particularly feral fucker with a housing estate complexion, it would be interesting to see Charlesworth explain that comment to Dotmaster if he ever goes east of Piccadilly Circus.
Curiously, Charleworth at one point challenged the audience to go out an bomb the Tate walls with non-commissioned stuff, exactly aligning with Dotmaster’s reason for doing that piece above: “graffing a art gallery with something they appreciate as art was supposed to provide a dilemma. Testing their snooty attitudes by seeing if they buffed them”
Charlesworth has a concern about middle class art buyers buying street art as a life-style accessory, well spotted. He could but didn’t also have railed against buyers who see only the investment potential and think that this market goes in only one direction. He glaringly omitted one of the main and perfectly acceptable reasons why art by street artists is purchased by its’ fans, we like the stuff and we like the spirit! For those who get a tingle up the spine upon discovering a nice new street piece with a good “message” (social, political, humour, subversion, offensive, whatever), well placed, working with its environment and illegal, then non-street stuff by that artist serves as a homage to that artist and this form of “art”. And we like having stuff we like on our walls.
(yeah – I am aware this may confirm suspicions that street artists don’t transfer indoors)
One curious contention concerned Banksy’s apparently naïve approach to communication, in terms of failing to use the media well in propagating his message. Much sniggering under breath among the smelly hordes at that one.
Much circular and crappy debate about the issue of authentication ensued, Andipa supporting Pest Control’s refusal to authenticate pieces ripped off the street versus the art bloke’s position that authentication merely comfirms whether a piece is genuine or not, and thus Pest Control’s stance is intended to control supply and support values. The yawn factor was enormous, right up to the moment of Andipa’s claim that they’d never sell a piece presented to them as originating from the street.
Andipa Gallery – photo borrowed from Eddiedangerous
Back to Pure Evil, at the start he set the tone in an un-usually subtle way with his manifesto that street art has to be fun, immediate, illegal and almost without pre-meditation. In his words get pumped, get the tools, get out, find a spot and do something. Street Art is one of the most bullshit umbrella labels ever conceived (and lets not even start on what the fuck urban art means), perhaps the evening could have ended there.
Yes – I am aware of the irony that all this bullshit and intellectualisation is the exact opposite, (or antithesis – snigger) of what I love about the graff and street art scene.