Can graffiti still shock and challenge? Top Art Radar posts


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.

Projection Graffiti

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.

Banksy in North London

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”.

Trase One, 'Working the System', 2011, Enamel paint, red wool string on canvas, 36in x 18in (3pcs). Image courtesy Utterly Art.

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.

"The Great British Show", Fabrik Contemporary Art Gallery's first exhibition

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.

Zevs, 'LV Liquidated Black Murakami', 2009, acrylic on metal

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.


Related Topics: graffiti, street art, public art, urban art

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Can graffiti still shock and challenge? Top Art Radar posts — 1 Comment

  1. Graffiti is a valuable art form, I still think that graffiti can be shocking artist will always find a way to be on the cutting edge.

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