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
*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.