• January 7, 2004
  • Posted by Marc

What The Hell Should We Call It?.... The Initial Responses

Late yesterday we asked all of you for your
thoughts and suggestions on a proper name for the current art movement that
we’re all a part of.  Is it “Street Art”?... “Post Graffiti”:?.. Something
else?..... Amazingly, the responses started coming in as soon as we put up the
notice. And they’re all terrific. Here’s a few of them, more as we get them….
(Keep emailing your thoughts on this subject, or any subject for that matter, to

href="http://www.workhorsevisuals.com">Logan Hicks said:
“Aaron Rose coined the term,“The Disobedients” (see the Tokion
issue by the same name) for the current art movement. This issue acts as an
impromptu documentary on the movement. Complete with a history tree. Tokion also
had coined the word neo-graffiti to describe the current art
movement My take is that URBAN ART best describes this
movement. The art that signifies this movement is influenced, and primarily
lives within, the city environment. It is rare that you would find a picture of
a barn, or landscape within this movement. The people, the mediums, surfaces,
and showcases that exist within this movement are all born from the city
streets. Perhaps a bit dull as a name, but it feel that it is the most

href="http://www.whitecolours.com/kimono">Justin Armstrong
“as a master’s student working on the anthropological
elements of “street art” (as well as being a “street artist” myself), i feel
that it is very difficult to classify such a wide ranging phenomenon, but since
we live in an age of ultimate categories where everything must “belong” to some
semantic/semiological division, it seems important to provide a referent for
academic deconstruction and evaluation. with this in mind i suggest the

1. “public expressionism” 2.
“post-structural urban symbolism”  3. “post art”
4. “iconic interventionism” 5. “dead city
... but i still think street art is a
pretty decent title…

href="http://www.jonburgerman.com/">Jon Burgerman sent in this
doodle on the subject:


/>Pablo Aravena said this: “I do not mind “Post-
graffiti” to start with I think its not bad but that term came out in the 80’s
when graff first went into the galleries. Maybe we need a new definition for
whats going on now.

My moniker for it has been Urban
. Eventhough there are people doing it in rural places like the
Barnstormers or hobo inspired stuff on freights like the Other’s of the world. I
think that the initial energy of this movement came from the city. I like to
call it painting because I think that we need to bring the artform out of the
graffiti moniker (no disrespect to graff-which is really a foundation for all
this) to show regular people its continued evolution and what it is which is
good, vital, young, organic and free painting for all to appreciate, question,
confront and be surprised by. I know that this term maybe does not encompass
wheat pasting or postering directly but I think it works because at the end of
the day you are putting up an image on a public surface.

Here are
FV03’s ideas on the subject:

Neopop. “Pop” was the name for the movement in which elements
of normal life where used as content. Neopop uses normal life not only as
content, but also as canvas.

- Urban Design. I like
this one the most. Everything about the movement is urban, and everything is
about one goal: designing, whether it is on canvas, on a wall or on your

G in
said this: “i wouldn’t be pessimist but i think that
outside the academic way of art (school, gallery, etc…) the alternative, the
subversiv and the underground art will be in serious danger. I think that we’re
going to live under a more and more “Georges Orwell” (ref to 1984 book and Big
Brother) or “Philipp K. Dick” (ref to The Eye in the Sky book)....society.
With a total control of mass media, consumption, day by day way of
life, with a lot of modern tools to control your mind, your opinions, etc… you
must be a regular citizen with a classic work in an office, with some credits,
with a family, etc… everybody will think the same, will buy the same a sort of
union between capitalism mind and no-liberty of communism…. strange but i
could be happen !! And all the alternative opinions will be punished.

/>So i think that in some decades ART would be revolutionnary with a very strong
politic opinion ! Not only an Art to make it nice or pretty….

/>Maybe we’ll call it : ALT ’ ART !

alternativ exists nowadays against mondial globalisation about markets, bank
transaction and bad equality between (too !) rich and (so !) poor countries.
Maybe the ALT ’ ARTISTS will be able to put their messages everywhere in the
real world and the numeric one. ....maybe in 30 years i’d be alive to see
that….i hope i’m only pessismist !!

And finally, href="http://www.adamneate.co.uk">Adam Neate said this:
“There’s such a broad range of ideas going, not all of it relates to “post
graffiti” Here is one of the most inspiring pieces I have read, which to me best
summarizes the reasons for what I do what I do.

Hakim Bey

computer-banking lobbies. Unauthorized pyrotechnic displays. Land-art, earth-
works as bizarre alien artifacts strewn in State Parks. Burglarize houses but
instead of stealing, leave Poetic-Terrorist objects. Kidnap someone & make them
happy. Pick someone at random & convince them they’re the heir to an enormous,
useless & amazing fortune—say 5000 square miles of Antarctica, or an aging
circus elephant, or an orphanage in Bombay, or a collection of alchemical mss.
Later they will come to realize that for a few moments they believed in
something extraordinary, & will perhaps be driven as a result to seek out some
more intense mode of existence.

Bolt up brass commemorative plaques
in places (public or private) where you have experienced a revelation or had a
particularly fulfilling sexual experience, etc.

Go naked for a sign.

Organize a strike in your school or workplace on the grounds that it
does not satisfy your need for indolence & spiritual beauty.

/>Grafitti-art loaned some grace to ugly subways & rigid public monuments—PT-
art can also be created for public places: poems scrawled in courthouse
lavatories, small fetishes abandoned in parks & restaurants, xerox-art under
windshield-wipers of parked cars, Big Character Slogans pasted on playground
walls, anonymous letters mailed to random or chosen recipients (mail fraud),
pirate radio transmissions, wet cement…

The audience reaction or
aesthetic-shock produced by PT ought to be at least as strong as the emotion of
terror—powerful disgust, sexual arousal, superstitious awe, sudden intuitive
breakthrough, dada-esque angst—no matter whether the PT is aimed at one person
or many, no matter whether it is “signed” or anonymous, if it does not change
someone’s life (aside from the artist) it fails.

PT is an act in a
Theater of Cruelty which has no stage, no rows of seats, no tickets & no walls.
In order to work at all, PT must categorically be divorced from all conventional
structures for art consumption (galleries, publications, media). Even the
guerilla Situationist tactics of street theater are perhaps too well known &
expected now.

An exquisite seduction carried out not only in the
cause of mutual satisfaction but also as a conscious act in a deliberately
beautiful life—may be the ultimate PT. The PTerrorist behaves like a
confidence-trickster whose aim is not money but CHANGE.

Don’t do PT
for other artists, do it for people who will not realize (at least for a few
moments) that what you have done is art. Avoid recognizable art-categories,
avoid politics, don’t stick around to argue, don’t be sentimental; be ruthless,
take risks, vandalize only what must be defaced, do something children will
remember all their lives—but don’t be spontaneous unless the PT Muse has
possessed you.

Dress up. Leave a false name. Be legendary. The best
PT is against the law, but don’t get caught. Art as crime; crime as art.

Keep your thoughts and suggestions coming in!!!