Posts Tagged ‘exit through the gift shop’

I like reading about street art and what motivates the creative outbursts. I have blogged on this before (Slinkachu, Banksy).

The Art Newspaper recently did quite a long feature on street art inspired by (and inspiring) the Arab Spring.

Anny Shaw and Gareth Harris interview “Hans Ulrich Obrist of London’s Serpentine Gallery, who is chairing a discussion on art patronage in the Middle East as part of a summit at the British Museum and the Royal College of Art (12-13 January).”

” ‘What is interesting to see in Egypt, and in all these countries, is that artists are not only going out into the city, they also become agents of change in society. … If you think about it in terms of the Russian Revolution and Mayakovsky saying “the streets are our brushes, the squares our palettes,” it’s about art going beyond the museum and blurring the boundaries between art and life.’

“Obrist also notes that there is a long-standing tradition, particularly in Egypt, of contemporary artists using the street to mount performances or install works. Indeed, several contemporary Egyptian artists, including Susan Hefuna and Hassan Khan, have used the city as a site for their work, both before and in response to the uprising. …

“As Anthony Downey, the director of contemporary art at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, editor of ibraaz.org and a speaker at the summit says, the region has ‘antecedents in graffiti-based pro­tests,’ citing those against the Shah of Iran before his flight from Tehran in 1979 and the graffiti and posters used in Beirut during the civil war in Lebanon.”

What a hoot that this art has been taken up by auction houses like Sotheby’s! But on the whole it’s good for the artists. I know what a great moment it was when the favela artists from Brazil were able to sell their work in the movie Waste Land.

Read more here.


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About a year ago, I read an article in the Boston Globe about an elusive British street artist known as Banksy. Some Banksy-style art had appeared on a restaurant wall alongside a parking lot in Chinatown, and rumors were flying that Banksy himself had snuck into Boston under cover of darkness to make his mark.

My office is quite near Chinatown, so with very few clues, I set out one lunch hour to find the art. A woman thought I looked lost. She was sure she knew where the restaurant mentioned in the newspaper was located. She didn’t actually, but I followed her a while and had a nice chat. She was amazed to hear what I was looking for: “Banksy? Banksy was here?!” It took a couple lunch hours, but I finally got this picture.

And I wasn’t the only one taking pictures. The parking lot attendant looked very annoyed. A year later the art is covered with ordinary graffiti, sprayed-on tags. I never did hear if it was an authentic Banksy, but I really like it.

If you want to know more about street art in general and Banksy in particular, see the offbeat documentary “Exit through the Gift Shop,” in which Banksy has to come to LA to rescue a street-art exhibition that takes in an awful lot of people.


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