Shoreditch, London — April 2015 — Last week, The Street Museum of Art and Google Cultural Institute announced the second phase of its partnership as Google’s Street Art Project continues to develop a digital collection of more than 10,000 high resolution images — enabling street art fans around the world to dive into the hidden details of paintings at the click of a mouse. By bringing together a wide variety of global partners, the GCI’s project enables anyone, anywhere to enjoy these artworks long after the paint has faded from the walls. With such a growing interest in the links between digital advancements and the world of street art over recent years, The Street Museum of Art couldn’t help but to ask — what happens to those works that haven’t quite faded from their walls just yet?
In celebration of this duality between the ephemeral nature of street art and its enduring virtual reality, The Street Museum of Art is back in London with the launch of its 7th guerrilla exhibition, Beyond Banksy: Beat the Streets — a recap of some of our favorite work from SMoA’s similarly named 2012 project standing the test of time around the Queen’s hallowed city.
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Beyond Banksy: Not Another Gift Shop (2012)
In 2012, SMoA ventured across the pond with the launch of Beyond Banksy: Not Another Gift Shop. Now, more than two years later, we were stoked to find that 10 of the 12 works included in the original exhibition are still resiliently hanging around Shoreditch (Sadly Mobstr’s “Didn’t Get Arrested” and Christiaan Nagel’s Mushroom install are no longer in existence, although both artists still have plenty of work up around the city). Beyond Banksy: Not Another Gift Shop was strategically curated in the home country of a certain renowned and cheeky stencil artist, to help shine a spotlight on the different styles, techniques, and mediums that can be found under the umbrella term of “street art.”
Would we ever call into question Banksy’s skill and the accolades he’s racked up within his style? Nah. But our point is that there is so much else happening out there waiting to be found and explored, and we cannot rely only on popular opinion delivered via our computer and mobile screens to introduce us to the movement.
Beyond Banksy: Beat the Streets (2015)
Now in 2015, we find ourselves even deeper in this “place to post” era. So many artists emerging in the scene today are producing art within the public realm primarily for the purpose of sharing it across digital platforms and social networks. There is no longer a need to go “all city” when access to the world is just a touch screen away. Historians and fans are feeding into this shift as well, relying on blogs and social media to discover the work they love.
When the streets themselves are your museum, you get the unique benefit of witnessing a city’s shifting facade around a certain piece of longstanding art, or how that very piece progresses as a result of its public nature and the wear of time. It is entirely unique to this particular movement, and a whole set of the senses that is denied when you experience the work solely through an LED screen.
The 10 works included in Beyond Banksy: Beat the Streets are a reminder to the adventurous street-goer of how the evolution and growth of a piece is uniquely beautiful and just as important to understanding this movement, and that getting out there to see the work in person is hella worth it.
When was the last time you tightened up your laces and went out wandering the back alleys or abandoned corners of a city just to experience the grime and energy behind street art and graffiti culture?
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Not in London or simply interested to discovering pieces from previous SMoA exhibitions? Then feed your wanderlust by checking out the curated works of SMoA & our friends at Google’s Street Art Project here.