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October 6, 2010

Making a Spectacle: Art in Public Spaces

Graffiti, street artist caricatures, impromptu performances – public attitude concerning these formerly frowned-upon arts has certainly shifted in the last decade. Art in the public eye has always been, and will always be, a fantastically changeable monster. Impossible to control or accurately predict, the authentic, organic evolution of street art has produced some of contemporary art’s finest moments.

It’s not all about Banksy anymore, but love him or hate him, his work opened the eyes and minds of the mainstream public as to how fantastic and creative graffiti can be.

Artists like Banksy have upped the ante, encouraging fresh talents and a higher level of skill that often borders closer to illusionist than artist.

Occasionally in danger of becoming a caricature of itself, contemporary graffiti has taken its first tentative steps into the world of mainstream advertising. Generally termed “Guerrilla Advertising”, the premise can range from simple legal painting sponsored by a big brand, to mysterious movements created for the sole purpose of encouraging word of mouth advertising. This is perhaps the most difficult to nail since the most common purpose of graffiti is to question the mainstream.

Interactive Art
Generally existing to encourage the public to be more than a viewer – a participant who questions, who is involved in the world.

Interactive street art-like caricatures are nothing new, but with a surge of brilliant new artists on the scene capturing the everyday public in their caricature portraits as they wander the streets, the scene is certainly bright.

Performance art has been making an interesting leap of late back to its satirical roots. Short, impromptu plays questioning everything from social ethics to politics have become the voice of a generation. Educational groups and facilities are finding such platforms fantastic in terms of nurturing creativity and social pride in students.

In the end – in terms of art – everything everywhere is a canvas eventually.

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