This year represents a high-water mark for current Street Artists being represented at the New York fairs if what we have just seen over the last couple of days is any indication. For those who have been following the trajectory of the new kids we’ve been talking about for the last decade, the room is rather getting a lot more crowded. Only a handful of years ago names that produced blank stares at your forehead and a little sniff of dismissal are garnering an extra lingering moment near the canvas and snap of the cellphone pic, complimentary champagne flute in hand.
Hellbent at Fountain (photo © Jaime Rojo)
With the gusts of wind provided by a couple of recent auctions, optimism about an up-turning economy, and even the Banksy one-month residency, it is not hard to imagine that we have some “overnight” stars in the midst of this constellation, but it is really anyone’s guess.
While we are certainly aware of it, we don’t dedicate too much ink to the commercial aspect of the Street Art scene, preferring to learn the lingua franca of these artists who have developed their narrative and visual style before our eyes, to celebrate experimentation, the creative spirit, and to give a pedestrian view of the street without being pedestrian.
But just as neighborhoods like Bushwick in Brooklyn, El Raval in Barcelona, LA’s downtown Arts District, and parts of London, Berlin, and Paris have been transforming by gentrification, we would be remiss if we didn’t note the more frequent raising of commercial eyebrows all around us when the topic turns to Street Art. It’s not a fever pitch, but can it be far off? There is already a solid first tier that everyone can name – and the stratification is taking shape below it.
Herb Smith (previously Veng RWK) at Fountain (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Buffeted by blossoming sales of works by early 2000s Street Artists and the burgeoning of lifestyle companies now appropriating this cultural wealth and transforming it into “content” that helpfully couriers all manner of merch from spirits to soda, sneakers, and electronic smoking devices, we are looking for our seat belts as there a major shift in popular acceptance and critical embracing of 21st century Street Artists up ahead.
As for the streets, the flood is going to continue. Street Art is Dead? Yes, we’ve been hearing this since 2002…
Here’s a brief non-specific and uneven survey of only some work showing this weekend by current or former Street Artists and graffiti writers – perhaps a third of what you can see in the New York fairs and satellite galleries.
Rubin at Fountain (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Fumero at Fountain (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Gilf! and Icy & Sot at Fountain (photo © Jaime Rojo)
EKG and Lamour Supreme at Fountain (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Alice Mizrachi and Jon Burgerman at Fountain (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Chris Stain and Rubin at Fountain (photo © Jaime Rojo)
See One and Chuck Berrett/Nicole Salgar of Cargo Collective at Fountain (photo © Jaime Rojo)
JMR and Cake at Fountain (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Vicki DaSilva at Fountain (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Pose at Volta (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Vinz at Scope (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Amanda Marie at Scope (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Tip Toe at Scope (photo © Jaime Rojo)
El Mac at Scope (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Know Hope at Scope (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Cope at Scope (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Aakash Nihalini at Scope (photo © Jaime Rojo)
Banksy and friends at Scope (photo © Jaime Rojo)
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