How graffiti made it into the gallery

Graffiti art street art

How graffiti made it into the gallery? Over the past few decades, graffiti has experienced a dramatic change. Graffiti art has always existed alongside other artistic pursuits; it is unique in that it is a form of self-expression that is not explicitly authorised or commissioned, but rather uses techniques that are perceived as illegal or outside the traditional art world. Today's definition and understanding of street art are derived from its origins as a graffiti art subculture, which frequently overlaps and appropriates components from other works. Because street art is ill-defined, it is never simple or consistent to identify. Allan Schwartzman first used the term "street art" in 1985 to describe a broad variety of artistic expressions placed against urban settings. It evolved straight from the graffiti revolution and can be two- or three-dimensional. Street art, sometimes referred to as "post-graffiti," introduces a fresh range of media, techniques, and aesthetic standards that were absent from the New York City graffiti art movement of the 1970s and 1980s.

Origins of Graffiti

Graffiti art has historically been perceived as a threat to society, an enigma, and vandalism. Graffiti revolutionised art and culture in the 1970s and 1980s, mainly in New York City. It began with hip hop. Urban youth started spray-painting walls, trains and tube cars in large quantities during this time, giving voice to disillusioned anti-authoritarian people who were looking for acceptance and a method to express themselves. Even while this kind of graffiti-inspired art is still prevalent today, it has changed and is now more amorphous than street art. Graffiti art has always focused on the imaginative, dramatic calligraphy and spray-painting of the artist's name for personal gain. On the other hand, street art breaks through these limitations. In addition to frequently using typography, it also uses stencilling, painting, wheat pasting, and sticker "bombing," which is the process of making and pasting stickers, to get a similar look.

You Talking to me Painting by Barrie J Davies 2022, Mixed media on Canvas, 27cm x 35cm, Unframed and ready to hang.

Cultural Significance

Graffiti served as a tool for reclaiming public space in addition to being a source of self-expression. Teaching students the value of self-expression in shaping their identities through street art and graffiti art is especially pertinent for young teenagers who are attempting to find their place in a confusing world. There are other types of art than traditional, mainstream styles. These genres draw attention to the wide variety of art that permeates our visual culture on a daily basis.

Graffiti and street art have a significant impact on culture, particularly visual culture. Graffiti and street art are featured in a large number of modern museum pieces, demonstrating their influence. Good instances of real street art and graffiti are still uncommon at these establishments, though. While it may be difficult for museums to display transient art, they also have an obligation to record and present events that occur outside the purview of popular art.

Dude Goes Crazy Painting by Barrie J Davies 2023, Mixed media on Canvas, 50cm x 75cm, Unframed and ready to hang.

The transformation

In the 1980s, when progressive curators and art fans began to recognise graffiti's artistic worth, street art gave way to gallery art. Paper graffiti takes the form of stamping, stickering, collaging, and wheat pasting. Spray-painted graffiti can be challenging to remove, but wheat-pasted stickers and graphics usually fade quickly from exposure to the elements and from cleanup operations meant to eradicate this ephemeral art form. Renowned graffiti artist Swoon from New York City invented an intricate cutting method for creating life-size paper representations of people. Her elaborate pieces begin life as linocuts or woodcuts, which are then augmented with coats of paint and other materials. Because of the nature of the materials, her one-of-a-kind creations are transient even if they frequently alter city scenery. Six of Swoon's pieces were purchased by the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2005.

Since its inception, graffiti has captivated people all around the world. There were attempts to institutionalise this urban phenomena in the 1980s. But at first, institutions had mixed feelings about this mysterious, subversive, and distinctive kind of art. This ambivalence is becoming more of a tendency these days. Since 2006, organisations have been working more diligently and knowledgeablely with graffiti, street, and urban art, which has allowed these art forms to enter museums.

Psycho Kitty Painting - BARRIE J DAVIES IS AN ARTIST


As a result of the book, the phrase started to denote a particular identity that was different from graffiti and included works of art that most people would now consider to be street art. A remark from Jenny Holzer that appears on the back cover perfectly captures Schwartzman's creative use of the term: "This is art done in secret for the public." It's art in an unexpected place. It's art about depressing issues displayed for public viewing. It's incredibly beautiful art that illustrates what could be. Similar to Schwartzman's work, different book document 1980s NYC street art through Haring's tube drawings from Buggiani's collection. But Buggiani clearly distinguished between street art and graffiti, which is more in line with how the term is currently understood.

Best foot Forward by Barrie J Davies 2018, mixed media on canvas, Unframed, 50cm x 75cm. Barrie J Davies is an Artist - Pop Art and Street art inspired Artist based in Brighton England UK - Pop Art Paintings, Street Art Prints & Editions available.

Contemporary Graffiti Art

Graffiti is now recognised as a worldwide art movement. Blek le Rat and Banksy are two of the most well-known street artists working today. Banksy, a trained graffiti artist, switched to street art because creating his intricate freehand pieces by hand took too long. Recognised for his juxtaposition of subjects and defiance of authority, Banksy stays anonymous in order to stay out of trouble with the law. This UK-based artist regularly makes news for his highly lucrative artworks, even though he keeps his name a secret.

Though still in the minority, artists such as Banksy and Swoon are becoming more well-known and successful because to the thousands of dollars they sell their pieces for at Christie's and other auction houses. Still, not every street and graffiti artist aspires to be a part of the mainstream art scene. Graffiti artists from all around the world get together for street art festivals and public art initiatives.

Stranger Danger by Barrie J Davies 2018, Mixed media on Canvas, 30cm x 80cm, Unframed. Barrie J Davies is an Artist - Pop Art and Street art inspired Artist based in Brighton England UK - Pop Art Paintings, Street Art Prints & Editions available.


Up until the 1990s, the word "street art" was mostly used in American newspapers. After that, it started to emerge in European periodicals. Before the year 2000, there was a wide range of interpretations and uncertainty surrounding the concept of street art. The phrase was appropriate for describing a variety of street art.

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