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What kind of art is this? Street art and art

Street art is not images, it is a variety of statements in various forms. Simply because it is in this capacity that modern Western civilization uses images in public space (especially on street walls and other similar objects).

And so, when talking about street art, it is necessary to talk about the rhetoric of images, including in the interpretation: the author and his gesture, the audience and its cultural background, the context and means, as well as the goals and effects of the message. It is also worth remembering that due to the reflexivity of thinking, people are able (sometimes purely intuitively) to understand these points, and therefore anyone who makes street art, simultaneously practices some form of thinking. He thinks not only about what to say and what pushes him to this statement, but also about how and by whom it will be perceived.

This thinking is primarily aesthetic (if we remember that aesthetics has never been limited to the limits of the beautiful), although it also has rational elements. Well, after all, strict logical reasoning with arguments is by and large a special case of thinking aesthetics. Because of this, in this “course” we want to avoid the museification of street art (although this is impossible completely, because to some extent we need both history, theory, and reviews-lists) and talk more about the thoughts that street art evokes. In addition, many of its authors are ironic and witty not only in their works, but also in public statements. However, I note that the resulting “course” is a purely author’s view of street art and is largely disposed to identify the most controversial topics in it.

So let’s get started…

Street art needs to be seen. And only then talk about it. However, when we talk about it, we habitually stray into the ordinary and familiar. It is difficult to talk about new things. It is much easier to stick a label, which, although it does not add understanding, but allows you to avoid inconveniences in handling. It is not surprising that street art is trying to explain something through comparisons with art, both classical and modern. But is it really necessary? It seems to me that street art does not need patronizing protection from the face of art.

Another art practice?
“Graffiti is one of the few means of self-expression that you can afford, even if you don’t have anything. And even if you don’t use graffiti to end world poverty, you can make someone smile while they’re pissing.”
Banksy
Street art as a phenomenon is one of the signs of modernity. You can see it in any big city. But do I need to define what street art is? Probably, Yes, because they still talk about it, sometimes implying different things and making questionable conclusions. This definition will allow us, if not to avoid, then at least to counter a number of unpleasant trends, such as the appropriation of street art by galleries and its transformation into a commodity, the unjustified expansion of the area of street art (when everything is called it), inadequate expectations and perceptions. At the same time, it would be interesting to understand the place and meaning of street art without excessive metaphysics and proliferating entities.

But “need” does not mean that it is so easy. To call street art everything that happens on the street is completely futile. Of course, a more or less enlightened person will tell you: street art is beautiful, and at least interesting. Let him live, this is also art. The art critic will only add that everything is now complicated, and art is no longer confined to the walls of a Museum or private Pinacoteca. Indeed, modern art has generated many different formats, which make it easier to talk about art practices than about the image of something. And at first glance, street art (even by “art” in the name) can easily be included in this series of new practices, along with ready-made, installations, happenings, promotions and performances.

However, it seems to me that this would be premature, because despite the differences from classical art, all these art practices have common conventions and origins with it (which in General are trying to undermine or deconstruct in various ways). For example, art Nouveau thought that works should be devoted to timeless subjects, so postmodernism jumps out of its pants in an attempt to be relevant and socially responsible.

It’s just still the same idea, but understand it differently (like idol, propped up from different parties, which guarantees its stability). Street art has a completely different background. This is something in the spirit of “drew-run”, “caught/not caught”, “not elegant, but clear”, “we did not finish Vkhutemasov”, and in some cases also “climb on someone else’s territory – will kill”, “respect from the brothers” and “I’ll paint over your nah”.

At work

Yes, of course, as the brainchild of modernity, street art is similar to postmodern: it does not shy away from mass culture and eclecticism, it is sensitive to topical topics of society and does not require a trained viewer. Still, street draughtsmen come to these features in slightly different ways than those who can easily tell you about their continuity with pop art, Dadaism, and late-medieval engraving. So looking for a direct link between street art and some land art or a system of academies and galleries is the same as looking for the blue blood of the Habsburgs from your Belarusian grandfather. At best, they are interesting coincidences, but no more.

Therefore, making illegible statements, saying, “street art is also art, well, such a (modern) subspecies of art”, only on the basis of several similar features is extremely hasty. Although you can. This can be answered symmetrically: well, then street art is a subspecies of vandalism. Look, there are several things in common. And Yes, I personally prefer the second approach: I define street art as enlightened vandalism. And I haven’t met a more precise definition yet. Well, unless it is more poetic: art-guerilla.

Street art is more a product of the expansion of understanding into the field of marginal activity than the result of art going beyond the usual framework (here the result can be very similar to street art).

In a simplified form, a street writer differs from a bully who spoils walls only in the background of his activity – it is a little more responsible and conscious. It assumes the subject and the content of a certain statement, which means that it is devoid of spontaneity or hardened ideological cliches (what do we see in the drawings of vandals? – meaningless painting or crossing out, phalluses ,” I was there”, primitive chants about Jew masons and reptilians – and this is a complete zero in terms of the subject, and in terms of the statement).

Street art in Moscow. Artist’s work under the nickname zoom

I do not see anything shameful in the fact that many street artists were or could become such malevalschikami. Those who come to street art from art education, most likely, either continue to “make art” (and the street is unprincipled, no matter what he said about it wisely), or are looking for brutality and openness (which in art he lacked).

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