And The Debate Rages On: Fine Art And Graffiti
The concept of fine art is and will no doubt always be a very traditional way of thinking. There are definite elements of art that art included, such as painting and sculpting, but then there are now elements in the modern world that there is much debate over. In fact, the debate over one particular modern art form has raged for several years now and still shows no signs of abating. Does graffiti constitute fine art or not? Traditionalists argue strongly that it is not, whereas the more modern minded that appreciate art for what it is argue that it is fine art because of the tradition behind it, and the fact that it is technically painting for those that are feeling especially pedantic!
In fact, graffiti goes back thousands of years. It can be found in Ancient Greece and Rome and thus has a great tradition, according to those artists that do indulge in a little graffiti from time to time. However, it has had a more sinister meaning in society for some years now and this is most likely the reason why traditionalists do not want to acknowledge it as fine art. Letters, names and images are commonly sprayed or scratched onto walls to represent certain private messages that are left for other individuals, to denote territorial boundaries, or indeed to decorate the area! However, because this usually occurs on property that does not belong to the person that sprayed the message onto the wall, it is considered illegal vandalism. The damage that it does is often extremely ugly and thus is by no means considered an art by the individuals that are affected by it. However, modern artists do not break the law and as such argue that this view of graffiti does not apply to them.
Philadelphia, New York and Chicago are the areas of the United States that have been the most receptive to graffiti as art. In fact, there is now an exhibition of graffiti in the Brooklyn Museum. It is labelled there as contemporary art and the description also notes that it was made famous in the 1980s by artists such as Jean Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. These two individuals are highly respected that consider such art fine art, and with good reason. They took it away from the notion of it being vandalism in New York and brought it into the art world once and for all. Some of their work is truly amazing.
The exhibition itself actually has over twenty works of art by those native to New York and has been vastly covered in the press and worldwide art magazines as a result. There are a number of publications that covered it and the curator, Charlotta Kotik, received much of the attention. She pointed out that most individuals actually think of graffiti in the wrong way these days and she decided to highlight just how modern and inspiring it could be as a result of that. Kotik has made individuals rethink their assumptions because some individuals have accepted it as fine art, whereas others firmly stand their ground and will not be budged!
The exhibition inspired other countries to rethink their position on graffiti and it has actually been featured in a major book in Australia as a result. It has been integral to the make up of Australian urban culture as well as American urban culture and thus deserves the coverage that it gets. There are more countries that review their position on graffiti every day, as long as it does not fall within the realm of vandalism. As a result, the majority of individuals may yet accept it into fine art. However, that day may be quite a while off yet, at least until the older and more traditional art critics and experts are no longer in the art world!
You can find more of my Art at Etsy Gallery