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Street Art

19 artworks, 13 artists
Street art is one of the modern art trends, which appeared and flourished in the public spaces of modern cities. According to the artists working in this direction, the art hidden in galleries, museums and private collections is inaccessible to most people. One of the main ideas of the street art philosophy is the democratic nature of art and its universal accessibility outside the concepts of private property.

The art movement was born at the turn of the 1970s in the United States of America. The first manifestations of street art painting were tags containing the artist’s name or pseudonym. Tags have become a peculiar way to denote their individuality, to proclaim the very fact of their existence. Tagging was considered — and is considered — more likely to be vandalism than art. At the same time, tagging carried the idea to the masses that one could gain fame by demonstrating his/her presence in public places.

The ephemerality and fragility of street art projects is one of the central ideas of this art form. At any moment, a one-of-a-kind “artifact” can disappear without a trace, it can be painted over both by authorities and other artists. Street art, as a rule, cannot be bought. The main medium of an artist is a spray can.

For their paintings, street artists use surfaces that are clearly visible for those around them – bridges and poles, house walls and underpasses, benches and fences. Their art often raises acute social problems. Street artists submit personal manifestos on political and cultural issues, environmental protection and excessive consumption to the public.

The desire to transfer your message to the surface as difficult for access as possible can give others the impression that this is some kind of “secret society”, inaccessible to mere mortals. One of the most famous graffiti in the “wild style” – with bright colours, rounded lines and shadow volume effects – was created by artists TRAP, DEZ and DAZE in 1982. This object of street art appeared on a car of the New York subway and caused great hype in the press. Graffiti quickly gained great popularity and became one of the components of hip-hop music culture. By the mid-1980s, the stencil graffiti style gained its popularity among street artists. The art of spray painting crossed the ocean and conquered Europe.

After the city authorities began to actively fight with the “daubery” on the walls everywhere, the most persistent artists shifted their activities to gallery spaces. Street artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring began working in art studios. Some large corporations – notably IBM and Sony – used graffiti to promote their products. Street art became the subject of several computer games, graffiti appeared on bags and T-shirts, skateboards and surfboards.

The wall is a very powerful weapon. This is one of the most disgusting things you can hit someone with,” said Banksy, one of the most legendary street artists. Banksy’s name is wrapped in a shroud of anonymity and mystery; many believe that the musician Robert Del Naja stands behind the pseudonym, a member of the Massive Attack music
band. The inimitability of this master of street art is in his subtle humour with sardonic wit, which makes viewers rethink the seriousness of his artistic statements on politics, humanity and the capitalist world.

Significant street art pictures:
“Tango”, Blek le Rat, 1985
“Ten Boxing Bags”, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol, 1986—1987
“Tuttomondo”, Keith Haring, 1989
Kissing Coppers”, Banksy, 2004
Mona Lisa with Bazooka”, Banksy, 2008

Street artists:
Banksy, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Daniel Buren, Félix González-Torres, John Feckner, Ernest Pignon-Ernest, Blek le Rat, Nick Walker, Shepard Fairey.