From a South Carolina Sidewalk to a Paris Museum

I am absolutely intrigued by Paris’s street art: those sometimes ephemeral, sometimes witty, sometimes political, but always free exhibitions that are found on almost every city block in this Mecca of artists. In fact, this is my third post on je parle américain about street art in as many months because I’m constantly stumbling across new pieces. A few weeks ago, though, I started to ask myself whether this love affair with street art has deeper roots than just my experiences here in Paris. Continue reading From a South Carolina Sidewalk to a Paris Museum

Street Art

One of the things I love about Paris is the ubiquitous street art.

“But what is street art?” you might ask.

Well, simply put, it’s visual art in public spaces, usually unsanctioned by local authorities. Typically, the term is used to distinguish contemporary public-space artwork (like traditional graffiti, stencil graffiti, sticker art, wheatpasting, video projection, art intervention, sculpture, and street installations) from territorial graffiti, vandalism, and corporate art. I don’t want to get into definitions of what constitutes street art, debate whether street art is really “art” or “vandalism,” or expound on the history of Paris street art and its notable artists. I just want to show you some of my favorites that have caught my eye over the last three years.

As you’ll see, street art can be an expansive mural overlooking a public park … or just a single word in an obscure location; it can be a critically acclaimed work by a world-renowned artist … or just a fleeting notion scribbled with a magic marker. What they all have in common is that they’re intended to communicate something to the spectator: provocative, inspiring, or fanciful. And they’re all ephemeral, too. These works exist at the whim of the authorities — or even the weather — who can “clean them up” at a moment’s notice. So, keep an eye out for these unexpected little art exhibits and enjoy them while they last … they could be gone tomorrow.

You can also check out other volumes in the street art archives.

To open the gallery, simply click on one of the photos below (or on a white space if nothing appears). You will then be able then scroll through all of the photos in a larger format.

© 2012 Samuel Michael Bell, all rights reserved