GRAFFITI STREET ART URBAN ART
Graffiti, with its raw and defiant nature, still has the ability to raise eyebrows, but as street art becomes mainstream and the quality of the work increases, the debate on its legitimacy as an art form is finally beginning to settle.
In an effort to explore this genre further, Art Radar has been following the movement since our inception in 2008. In this post, put together as part of our ongoing ‘Lists’ series, we bring you five articles from our archives that focus on the development of urban art in Asia and beyond.
In January 2010, we published a supplementary list of, arguably, the top 5 graffiti artists in the world. Mostly discussing artists from North America and the UK, readers were introduced to Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Adam Neate, Swoon and Barry McGee, all of whom started their careers in the streets, but have ended up in biennales, museums and galleries worldwide.
But is it an insult to graffiti to want to bundle it into a gallery? Is graffiti just an act of rebellion? Does its charm include getting caught and going against the norm that museums and galleries supposedly dictate?
This seems not to be an issue for most urban artists, as galleries and museums provide safe havens from their ostensibly close-minded environments. Such is the case with Trase One, a Singaporean graffiti artist who claims that there is still a lack of acceptance for those going against the status quo in the city state. His main objective in art production, he says, is to break the stereotype that graffiti is a mere “passing fad”.
Of course, some regions are more accepting than others. In Hong Kong, a growing number of galleries are inviting street artists into their spaces and onto their rosters. In a post published on Art Radar in April 2010, Fabrik Contemporary Art Gallery discusses their first exhibition, which features internationally acclaimed graffiti artist Banksy, their goals as an art space and their plans for the future.
But despite the growing acceptance of the art form, controversies concerning graffiti still continue. In 2009, Christophe Schwarz or ‘Zevs’, a well-known Parisian street artist was detained for dripping black paint on a Chanel logo on the Armani building in Hong Kong’s Central district. The price for repair of damages reached HKD6.7 million or USD850,000. Zevs claims he only used water-based paint which could have been removed easily.
Want to have a browse through our archives yourself? Click here to take a look at what else we have written on street art, here to browse through our posts on urban art and here to gander at our writings on graffiti.
- Who is the King of Kowloon? ArtisTree exhibition pays tribute to artist and eccentric Tsang Tsou-choi – May 2011 – a tribute to Tsang Tsou-choi (a.k.a. King Kowloon), a calligraphic graffiti artist who wrote Hong Kong’s woes on the walls of its city
- Street artist JR covers Shanghai with wrinkly faces – video – March 2011 – printed faces of the elderly pasted on Shanghai’s ruins
- Galleries provide legal space for Russian street art – New York Times – December 2010 – Russia’s fight for their right to paint on their streets
- Art Radar Asia launches Hong Kong Street Art Series: interview with co-owner of Above Second – October 2010 – Hong Kong sees an ever-growing interest in street art
- Chinese urban art exhibition in London shows new art medium laser tagging – October 2008 – a showcase of China’s emerging urban culture in the UK
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