Way back in the 1960s, Pop Art was the vehicle that moved the art industry from the stuffy, lifeless halls of the obscenely wealthy into vibrancy, accessibility, relevance, and a reflexive relationship with culture that has become a hallmark of postmodernism. The emergence of pop artists like Warhol and Lichtenstein created a whole new form of visual art, one that has itself splintered into myriad sub-genres — graffiti, street art, digital art, crypto art — that have all chipped away at the art hegemony and blown open the doors of the art world.
The graffiti movement appeared as one of the logical continuations of the Pop artistic tendencies, but this urban style has very much grown since. Brought to light by Basquiat and Keith Haring, graffiti art once again changed the rules of art. For decades, street art was an outsider craft, barely considered art at all by those at the levers of the art world and its industry. From graffiti to wheatpastes, the more populist forms of street art — by real people in public spaces — were associated more with vandalism and property destruction than cultural artefact and the sanitized white walls of ‘fine’ art. So when street art hit the galleries, it did so in a big way. The move represented a major paradigm shift in what can be perceived as fine art, one that sent waves far beyond the art world.
But while the likes of Banksy and Shepherd Fairey have brought street art to the gallery, a key element of what defines street art was lost: the street, and with it accessibility and equitability. Off the street, onto gallery walls, invisible to the eyes that first brought it to life, street art and pop art are in danger of falling out of context. Central to this development is that everyday people are excluded from what was once a populist art form, meant to be accessible and speak to actual human beings and not art collectors in ivory towers.
Developing stages have taken graffiti from street into galleries, from illegality to legitimate realms, from spray-cans to mixed media, while incorporating and assimilating styles pertinent to any of the artists’ backgrounds or opinions. Many of these artistic creations are still pop art or rooted firmly in street origins, but fused and seasoned with other ideas or approaches, in turn creating diverse conceptual planes.
Portion’s Street x Pop Art Week is all about putting disruptive art forms back into the hands of real people, and bringing together many of the world’s most provocative and exciting artists into one place. Five days, 16 artists, and thousands of street x pop art fans — with no boundaries, no rules, and no reservations.
Day One — Monday, June 14
Day Two — Tuesday, June 15
Day Three — Wednesday, June 16
Day Four — Thursday, June 17
Sean Keith | Sandy Cohen | Dain | 1PENEMY
Day Five — Friday, June 18
Revolue | Jeremy Wolff | Slim | Linjie Deng
Tune into Street + Pop Art Week on Portion from June 14-18.
Join our community: