Wednesday, July 15, 2009

You're like family

From Arte Callejero.
Os Gemeos, Modern Tate, London, 2008.
Photo: Jerónimo del Villar

Above is another example of street/art assimilated by the market. The whole experience obviously sold as commodity.* (What happened to old standards of High and Low?)

Make no mistake, graffiti art is still an alternative to the bizarre reality of today’s art market: Anonymous, ephemeral, pervasive and somewhat inconvenient. Graffiti art remains the twittering of political selection, non-hierarchical and emergent; a global transforming lingua franca for social denunciation. So, what does it mean when street/art ends up ostentatiously displayed at London’s Tate Modern?

Who legitimizes who? Have Os gemeos sold to the Tate? Positive. Is Tate Modern embracing street art? For now, yes, making graffiti accommodatingly democratic. As market icon, Tate Modern can be adaptable: It will embrace any new deal as long as it sells. For now, Os gemeos are “cool.”**
*To some extent this assimilation exemplifies another aspect of the fabricated tension between “High” and “Low” when it comes to art. I’m thinking of the reception of art as a sort of exulting aesthetic spectacle, inherited from the act of worship -now transformed by late-Capitalism as cultural practice: It’s generally sold (and digested) as “inner discovery.”
**Take a look at the Tate Modern press release for the Street Art exhibition. This sentence qualifies the marketability status of the group included in the show:

All six artists are represented in major collections around the world and regularly shown in gallery exhibitions and biennales but their work began in public urban spaces and remains indebted to Street Art and graffiti traditions.

Do not worry: You guys deserve Tate Modern’s institutionally consecrated walls. Sanctioned and auctioned, you are -so to speak- family.


Matthew said...

Hey. No sweat. We artists need to make a living. The market can crush you or make you rich. I'd say you have to know the difference. It's fair game.

Anonymous said...

If shown in a museum is it still street art?

A.T. said...

If shown in a museum is it still street art?

What do you think, Anonymous?

We artists need to make a living.

Indeed, Matthew.

Daily observer said...

Triff: Are you not reading too much into graffiti?

R.L.R. said...

If shown inside the museum is not street art anymore, but in this case is facade displayed, so it is kept outdoor.

Joke apart, I think this is a good example of the omnivorous character of art market.

A.T. said...

Triff: Are you not reading too much into graffiti?

No, I don't think I am. Look, if it's shown whether gallery-walk, art-fair, museum, auction, etc, it means it's absorbed by the market. Street art is still "not-for-sale" marginal, outside the system.

A.T. said...

RLR. I agree.