Around Birmingham I’ve noticed more street art than I’ve ever seen. I’m not referring to the hard-to-read “tags” or graffiti that have been common in most cities since at least the ‘80s. Tags are basically someone’s name or nickname reproduced, sometimes as incomprehensible as some metal band logos. (Having some HTML issues: You can click on “‘tags'” and “logos” for examples.)
It might have something to do with the recent movie Exit Through the Gift Shop playing our local festival and becoming readily available on Netflix. The film documents some of the important artists in this relatively young style.
I say young because it feels new, even though for me it harkens back to performance art, happenings, dada, and surrealism that have been with us for almost 100 years. Also, I find them linked to the aleatoric or chance music of John Cage or the non-idiomatic improv of Derek Bailey. It appears, happens, speaks, and is gone. Like performance art or live improvisation, the art has a short lifespan unless captured in some way on another medium (funny—I want to say “tape or film” but I don’t think most people use either of these but it sounds weird saying “ones and zeros”—oh well).
Anyway, I’ve seen some great stuff walking my dog. Thought I would share some of it. Also, Cy Twombly, often called a “high art graffitist” died recently. He hated that label and I don’t blame him. (Technology hates me: Click on his name for obit.)