Modern Perception of the Concept of Street Art

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In the article, The Work On The Street: Street Art and Visual Culture, by Martin Irvine, he gives a better interpretation of the concept of street art, while distinguishing major aspects of visual culture. To start off, Irvine provides a definition of street art noting, “Street art is a paradigm of hybridity in global visual culture, a post- postmodern genre being defined more by real-time practice than by any sense of unified theory, movement, or message” (1). Irvine explains how numerous of artist affiliated with the “urban art movement” do not acknowledge themselves as “street” or “graffiti” artist. It’s interesting to hear how “street” or “graffiti” artist don’t consider themselves as “street” or “graffiti” artist because many individuals may refer them as that. However, they acknowledge themselves as artists who consider the city their essential working territory. In addition, Irvine explains how street art is a society of procedures with its own knowledgeable codes, guidelines, “hierarchies of prestige,” and methods of connection (1). Street art started as an “underground, anarchic, in-your-face appropriation of public visual surfaces” (1). However, Irvine expresses that street art has become a crucial part of optical space in countless cities and a known art movement expanding over into the museum and gallery system. To add on, I agree with Irvine with how he believes that street art is now becoming a major deal in visual spaces.

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As stated by Irvine, he states that, “The street artists who have been defining the practice since the 1990s are now a major part of the larger story of contemporary art and visual culture” (1). He explains how street art incorporates and spreads an optical vocabulary and “set of stylistic” records that have evolved immediately recognizable all over mass culture. Moreover, I agree with Irvine on how street art has accomplished a significant bibliography, which is secured as a widely recorded category and institutionalized matter of analysis. Irvine believed that, “This globalized art form represents a cultural turning point as significant, permanent, and irreversible as the reception of Pop art in the early 1960s” (2).

Additionally, Irvine notes that street art is a significant conjoining node for contemporary visual culture in multiple disciplinary and institutional areas that rarely cross with this increased visibility (2). The conflict of overlapping forces enveloping street art frequently reveals repressed questions about visibility regimes and public area. As stated by the article, “Street art is also a valuable case for the ongoing debate about the material and historical conditions of visual culture, and whether the concept of “visual culture,” as constructed in recent visual culture studies, dematerialized visual experience into an ahistorical, trans-media abstraction” (4). Furthermore, I agree with Irvine and how street artists make statements about visual culture and the effects of controlled visibility in the city’s lived environment, where walls and screens are progressively mixed (4). He also explains how street art is an argument about visuality, the social and political structure of being visible in the material city (4). To add on, Irvine states how street art functions by being material and location-specific in an aggressive way, while also engaging in the global, networked cultural encyclopedia that is distributed on the Web (4).

Furthermore, Irvine believes that the social significance of street art depends on material areas with all their symbolic values that are previously arranged. The area of the city is an indivisible substrate for the job and street art is specifically a commitment with a city. Moreover, I agree with Irvine on how street artists are skilled experts of the semiotics of space and participate with the neighborhood itself as a collage or collection of observable surroundings and subject matter (4). I concur with the author on how street art is moved by “the aesthetics of material reappearance (5).

Overall, this article was very explanatory and informative. It gave me a better interpretation of the concept of street art, while determining important aspects of visual culture. I really enjoyed how Irvine detailed and provided plenty of information. However, what I disliked about this article was how it was too wordy. It was difficult for me to comprehend what the author was trying to say because I didn’t understand some of the words. I also wished there were images attached to the article. All in all, I agree with Irvine on highlighting the main points of street art.

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