In this concrete jungle, there is guerrilla warfare underway. The time is NOW that we, the public, must unite to protect the life of STREET art. The ‘legality’ of this art form has been hotly debated and The Public House of Art is weighing in on the situation.
Who owns street art? Here, at The Public House of Art we believe that art is not only for the elitists and money-hungry pigs. We stand by our creed that ‘Art is for All,’ affordable art you can fall in love with, buy, and hang on your own walls!
BLU, the Italian street artist hailing from Bologna has once again made headlines, and it’s painfully reminiscent of Berlin. It was in 2014 when two of Berlin’s most iconic imagery, Brothers and Chain, were fated by the intense gentrification acts from landlords. The Murals in Cuvrystraße had become emblematic monuments of Berlin’s transitioned growth; instilling a sense of hope and social awareness.
But it was BLU who ultimately had the final say, as he gave the approval to black out the murals that had become symbolic of a changing Berlin: a resilient, though heartbreaking, “F You”. It’s the battle for embracing street art as the pulse and rhythm of a metropolis that has ‘us’, the public fighting in the trenches against fat wallets sat behind desks in their leather chairs making decisions that hardly affect them.
Art is subversive and street art especially carries a political gravity to which BLU has been using as a platform to passionately start a dialogue and disrupt those complacent schmucks. BLU is a representative for the people, and his moral compass illuminates the corruptive actions of the capitalist mongers who “govern” them. Now in Bologna, the artist’s hometown, BLU is painting grey over his 20 year legacy as a somber act of protest.
The upcoming exhibition, Street Art —Banksy & Co. at the Palazzo Pepoli (18 March - 26 June) is backed by Fondazione Carisbo, the main bank in Bologna headed by the dickhead in disguise, Roversi Monaco. The exhibition’s objective is to provide an understanding of how cities operate and to stimulate visitors to discover new ways of relating to urban spaces…How could one understand or relate more to an urban setting than living in one?!?! Monaco is privatising parts of the city and unabashedly reinterpreting street art into a synthetic, White Cube.
Monaco has been quoted as “salvaging them from demolition and preserving them from the injuries of time.” This guy thinks he is some sort of urban prophet and we don’t buy it for one second. We say screw you for thinking they need preserving in an art gallery at all, many street artists work with the intention that eventual degradation is part of the lifespan of street art.
BLU has left it to the literary collective, Wu Ming to explain on their blog, Giap the reasoning behind the artist’s decision to paint grey over all his works in Bologna. “After having denounced and stigmatized graffiti and drawings as vandalism, after having oppressed youth cultures that produced them, after having cleared out the places that have been laboratory for those artists, now the powers of the city want to become the saviors of street art.”
What we all need to realise is street art is the vehicle that has dramatically made art accessible to the many; and often artfully documents the socio-economic changes of urban topography. However, it is because of hypocrites who are blinded by capitalism, that they think they can manipulate what was a creative bequest to the pubic. Turning street art into an artificial exhibit is not only a gross paradox, but it personifies the richest form of looting, stealing from citizens and using the Italian people with patronising arrogance. The exhibit is attempting to commodify urban life and profit from original artwork appreciated by the public.
One should not be critical of modern art graffiti as an illegal activity, which is simply injecting art into the public sphere for the masses to enjoy, but rather the real crime to be scrutinised is commercialising a robbery. At The Public House of Art we sell affordable art online, we say street art should remain on the street, no harm no foul. Sorry big boys, but we see right through the tinted windows of your Lamborghini and we know that you’re just compensating.