Street Art at the Herbert Gallery

Today I visited the Street Art exhibition at the Herbert Gallery for the second time. I find myself caught between two stalls when it comes to street art, most of it leaves me cold but when I see some that I like it tends to really inspire me and I grow to love it, this is one of my favourite pieces of all time –

I am from Bristol which is known to be a key city in the street art movement and is of course the home town of Banksy. I am surrounded by street art when I am in Bristol and much of it is protected by the council due to the importance it has in the city’s culture and recent history. Although the art, much of which is anti-esablishment, was meant to be rebellious, was meant to make a stand, was intended to be temporary and was created outside of the law it has now been given an accepted place in society. This brings me on to street art in galleries such as the Herbert. For the last four or five years street art has been finding its way into huge auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Bonhams, especially the likes of Banksy, Blek Le Rat, MBW, and D*Face, and all of these artists have held exhibitions at prestigious London galleries and around the world.

Should galleries like the Herbert be showcasing street art? Well I actually argue whether the art displayed there is even street art at all. All the works are either screen prints or originals on canvas in the same way you would find more conventional art work. This I think renders street art an artistic style rather than an artform practised on the street. Miro’s famous sculptures on Las Ramblas and in New York and Anish Kapoors dramatic works in Chicago are all art on the street in an Urban environment but have never been referred to as ‘street art’.

Anish Kapoor, Chicago

Joan Miro, New York

Joan Miro, Las Ramblas

Anish Kapoor, Chicago

I therefore feel that street art as a style is totally worth its place in galleries and auction houses and artists who work to that end should not be damned for creating work for spaces such as that.


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