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Street Art and Public Art (Vol. 1)

Banksy, Riot

The Street Artist as Cultural Diplomat

by Alexandra Holness

It is a fine line to walk between vandal and street artist. Unlimited by the demands of the commercial art market, impervious to the imposition of censorship, and unaffected by the availability of funding, street artists appropriate the urban landscape as their canvas and confront the rare and most coveted opportunity that is complete creative freedom. In some cases, this leads to a blatant defacement of public property. However, in the right hands, this opportunity can lead to culturally penetrating results.

Barnett Newman and the Slashed Paintings

by Annabelle Clippinger

Barnett Newman’s work has been thrust into the spotlight through a strange and unfortunate sequence of events, episodes of vandalism, which are the risk of the public presentation of art. The principle of museum exhibition begs the question of what is “the public’s art.” Museums serve the public interest by collecting and preserving works, and then presenting them for all who pass through their doors. The work of Barnett Newman offers a case study in the idea of art preserved for public interest, in a rather troubling way because of the attacks on his work.

Public Art, Public Statements: An Opinion on Graffiti

by Elyssa Jechow

Graffiti is oft used not just to record, but also to make a statement. There is some unfortunate vandalism, to be sure. Yet there is also what we call street art, public art, guerrilla art. Street art is technically definable, usually referring to unsanctioned art that is produced in public spaces, but since that definition does not really speak to medium, genre, or materials, then we realize that street art is boundless in its possible range.

Animation Street Art and Gif-itti

by Marie Zimmerman, Alexandra Holness, and Elyssa Jechow

When we think of street art, we think of artist working on a public canvas. In our era of digitization and modern technology, street art has reached remarkable diversity as new media have enabled the genre to travel to possibilities unforeseeable in earlier times. We are witnesses to a new generation of street art – animation street art and gif-ittis – born of our times. These forms document the production of street art, a tracking of the art’s visual evolution over a period of time. It focuses on the semantic change that lies within a work’s production, and the result is twofold: the lasting image on the public’s physical canvas is only the last in a series that emphasizes process as much as product, and a time-based piece of cinema shared  over digital pathways and viewed on personal devices around the world.

A Sampling of Street Art – Street Art from Around the World

A photo essay of 10 works that circle the globe.

Public Art, Further Resources

Pittsburgh is rich in public art, and TMD provides a couple of links to get you walking around the city.

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