Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Graffiti Taxonomy

Thanks to Jenn Ball for introducing me to Evan Roth's Graffiti Taxonomy: Paris 2009 after reading my medieval fonts of Middletown. Between April 24 and 29, Roth photographed 2,400 tags throughout Paris and produced a catalog of letter forms. This is truly interesting in its documentary value. Roth has done lots of other work on graffiti and is contributor to the Graffiti Research Lab. The taxonomy of fonts was sponsored by the Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art in conjunction with its current exhibition Born in the Street.

Last week, the
New York Times also presented a guide to Paris' best graffiti, see Lisa Pham, "Street Art that Has Staid in the Street," (NYT, Sept. 2, 2009). As graffiti matures and, in some contexts like Athens, becomes truly uncontrollable, some venues have brought this art form indoors. Istanbul's hipster neighborhood Beyoglou, for example, hosted an open-ended indoor exhibition, see Yiegal Schleifer, "Bringing Istanbul's Street Art Indoors" (NYT, Jun. 18, 2009). At the end of the article, we find a note in parentheses that would make hipster Byzantinists (like Jenn Ball) smile:

"As an added bonus, the rooftop of the building has a stunning view of the Bosphorus and the Byzantine and Ottoman monuments of Istanbul’s old city. Just ignore the empty beer bottles left over from the exhibit’s opening party as you take in the scenery."

This summer's hottest street-art news came from Bristol, where Banksy took over his hometown museum and filled it with 100 of his creations. The exhibition was conceived in complete secrecy and took the public by surprise. The show closed a couple of days ago and the BBC reported additional controversy about what to do with the installation. Although criticized as cheap one-liners, Banksy's installation was pretty wild (and some piece were atypically three-dimensional). See coverage in BBC's "Bristol versus Banksy." Staying true to his strategy of street appropriation, Banksy infiltrated the museum's permanent collection and "defaced" their meaning. See Simon de Bruxelles' review (Times, June 12, 2009).

Different institutions deal with graffiti differently. About a month ago, a controversy erupted at the University of North Dakota (thanks again to Bill for highlighting this issue) over the erasure of an art work commissioned by New York graffiti artist Rich Patterson (aka. Rich2) and UND alumnus. Ryan Sander reported the incident in Axis of Access. If you scroll through the blog's comments, you will even find the artist's own response. At the end of the day, the University will proceed with the erasure but has commissioned the artist to replace it with a new piece (reported Aug. 28, 2009).

1 comment:

german said...

QUALITY I really like this, it reminds me of a graffiti artist I saw at http://www.hire-a-graffiti-artist.co.uk their is a few more good graffiti artists on the site.

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Kostis Kourelis

Philadelphia, PA, United States