The Street Art World
Abstract: In recent years, street art has become embedded in popular culture and received growing attention from the art market and art institutions. Work by street artists has entered galleries, auction houses and museums, and some artists have been given the opportunity to create large-scale sanctioned public art projects. Simultaneously, widespread photographic documentation of street artworks and the circulation of images online have provided artists with a potentially global audience. The Street Art World investigates street art as a relatively newly established field within contemporary art. With the American sociologist Howard S. Becker’s notion of “art worlds” as a central point of departure, the book seeks to characterise street art by studying and participating in the everyday interaction among the artists, gallerists, collectors, critics, curators, bloggers and street art enthusiasts that make up the social environment (the street art world) in which the term street art is continuously given its meaning. Major themes addressed in the book include: (1) The social construction of the meaning of the term street art and the resulting difficulties in formally defining what street art is. (2) The often contradictory attitudes within the street art world towards art history and the institutions of art. (3) The relationship between street art, the art market and the institutional art world. (4) The relationship between street art and public art. (5) Street art’s potential to affect the viewer’s perception of public space, and the possible challenges the increasing digital mediation of street art may pose to bringing this potential to fruition. While the book presents central characteristics of the street art movement, it also acknowledges that it is not feasible to pin down the nature of street art once and for all, since street art is a product of complex social processes.
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