Street Art & Museums

With all of the focus so strongly on museum and their design and displays, I think it is interesting to look at what a museum is and the connotations that are associated with it. Such as, does a museum make the items and objects inside “art” or are those objects “art” to begin with? I find this question to be difficult due to the many levels associated with art and what it is. A great example of someone who brought this idea of “art” into question is Marcel Duchamp and his readymades. Also, how do we figure in street art, like graffiti and even street installation. The person I am thinking of is Banksy and his use of the urban, and even rural, environment as his gallery for art. 

Banksy has in many of his works shown his ability as an artist, but also called into question the idea of a museum. To take this a step further, some of his works he has placed into museums without their knowledge and seen how long they last. Yet, in some cases the museum upon finding his work have left them there, because they are a Banksy piece. 

In addition some of his work is insured, due to it being a Banksy work. In one case, a women commissioned a work by Banksy and had it insured. At the same time, the local town was upset at the state of their town walls being covered in street art and graffiti, so one afternoon they all deiced to have a town cleaning party in which they mistook the Banksy piece as “bad” street art and painted over it. There is now a suet going on in the town, because that work was insured and to the owner not “bad” street art. 

I think what these examples call into question is how does the museum function in terms of dedicating what is inside. Also, how do we define art that is not inside a museum or gallery? 



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