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Do Now #16: Is Graffiti Art?

| January 20, 2012 | 5 Comments
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Photo by Lachlan Hardy from Flickr


To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDedspace and end it with #KQEDDoNow

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.


Do Now

In your opinion, is graffiti art? Why or why not?  Optional: Add a photo of graffiti or street art you’ve seen in your neighborhood.

Intro

Graffiti is a controversial form of self-expression. There are many conflicting viewpoints about its value (or detriment) to society, but one thing is for sure: Graffiti has many forms, and the dynamic genre of street art has been recognized by educators, art students, museums, galleries, and art appreciators worldwide for more than three decades.

The Bay Area is home to many artists who have painted the town with their words and characters, and the Mission District was an original hotspot for street-based public art projects. Clarion and Balmy Alleys both have a long history of being dedicated to graffiti, murals, and street art.

Resource

Local luminary Barry McGee is one of the most well-known contemporary American artists, and a retrospective of his work is coming to the Berkeley Art Museum in 2012. An installation of his work is also currently on view at SFMOMA. Influenced by skate/surf subcultures and the Do-It-Yourself aesthetic that San Francisco is famous for, he was among the first street artists to cross over into museum territory, though he stays true to his graffiti roots. KQED’s Gallery Crawl interviewed the influential artist in 2008 when he was working under the pseudonym, Lydia Fong.

Art’s main job is to ask questions, and the graffiti/street art genre does exactly that. Here are some more questions to consider: When graffiti or street art is on view in a gallery or museum, how is it perceived differently? Are sanctioned murals more acceptable than spontaneous, “illegal” acts of art-making? If it’s not art, what is it? What are your personal experiences with graffiti? Dive into KQED archives for more examples of local street artists in San Francisco.


To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDedspace and end it with #KQEDDoNow

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.


More Resources for Follow-up Lessons

Gallery Crawl video and Educator Guide on Margaret Kilgallen, 2011

Spark video and Educator Guide about Mission District Street Art, 2010

Barry McGee and Margaret Kilgallen on Art:21

Educator guide about Lydia Fong exhibition, 2008

 

 

 

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Category: Do Now, Do Now: Art and Popular Culture

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About the Author ()

Kristin Farr is KQED's Arts Education Manager. She is the creator and producer of the Emmy Award-winning video series, Art School, which brings audiences into artists' studios to learn about contemporary art, and engages learners with ideas for new ways to get creative. She is also an artist and a contributing editor for Juxtapoz Magazine.
  • Jorge

    Is graffiti an art? yes… no…. Are all paintings art? Are all sculptures art? Does everyone that paint, with oil on canvas really wants to be an artist? I don’t think so. So i would propose an other question? Can graffiti be art? Yes, I think so!

  • Jorge

    Is graffiti an art? yes… no…. Are all paintings art? Are all sculptures art? Does everyone that paint, with oil on canvas really wants to be an artist? I don’t think so. So i would propose an other question? Can graffiti be art? Yes, I think so!

  • GraffitiIsArt123

    To me, I believe that Graffiti is Art. If someone who paints on someone’s property and it looks amazing, then it IS art. If people who see the art and comments that it looks amazing then leave it to a YES. Niether they should care that it’s someone else’s property. The owner should also say it looks beautiful because it makes HIS property look beautiful.

  • GraffitiIsArt123

    To me, I believe that Graffiti is Art. If someone who paints on someone’s property and it looks amazing, then it IS art. If people who see the art and comments that it looks amazing then leave it to a YES. Niether they should care that it’s someone else’s property. The owner should also say it looks beautiful because it makes HIS property look beautiful.

  • Caleb B

    I believe that graffiti is not okay when it makes something have less value, for example maybe if you put graffiti on the wall of a church it would not be okay, but a train would be acceptable because trains aren’t valuable for their looks, but for their work at pulling the carts, which can be done with or without the graffiti. I think putting graffiti in appropriate places is a good thing, because it is a good way for us to express ourselves, and a good way for other people to see our message.