The starting point of this paper are two views: on the one hand, two general claims about street art – a broad art category encompassing works of spray painting as well as of yarn bombing, paste ups as well as sculptural interventions, tags as well as stickers, and so on – and, on the other hand, a much more specific view about certain contemporary tags produced, roughly, over the past twenty years. The two general claims are, first, that all works of street art are subversive (see, e.g., Bacharach 2015; 2018; Chackal 2016; Baldini 2015; 2016; 2017; 2018; Willard 2016), second, that works of street art are the result of acts of self-expression (Riggle 2016). The specific view about certain contemporary tags is that they are artworks, although they are not presented, mainly, for appreciation of aesthetic properties grounded in their perceptual properties, because they are works of conceptual street art (see Lewisohn 2010; JAK 2012). The key question of the paper concerns, however, not contemporary tags, but “very early tags” (VETs) – a term that I shall use to designate the extremely simple, unadorned tags that first appeared in the late 1960s and that some scholars consider as the historical predecessors of the various practices that today we group under the category “street art” (see, e.g., Young 2014; Gastman et al. 2015): should we regard VETs as artworks? On the one hand, VETs writers tend to answer this question in the negative, since they stress that they didn’t cast themselves as artists and often identify the first tags that are artworks with the graphically elaborated tags that begun to be seen around New York City and Philadelphia just a few years after the appearance of the first tags. On the other hand, already in the early 1970s, artists and intellectuals such as Norman Mailer and Gordon Matta-Clark seemed to hold the view that it was appropriate to regard both VETs and later tags as art, although they didn’t defend this thesis with argument. The view that some contemporary tags that are not presented, mainly, for appreciation of their aesthetic properties might be candidates for appreciation as works of conceptual art suggests a strategy for assessing the issue whether VETs are candidates for art appreciation: can we defend the claim that the extremely simple, unadorned VETs were presented for appreciation as works of conceptual street art? I argue that we have good reasons to hold this view.

On Tags and Conceptual Street Art

CALDAROLA Elisa
2021

Abstract

The starting point of this paper are two views: on the one hand, two general claims about street art – a broad art category encompassing works of spray painting as well as of yarn bombing, paste ups as well as sculptural interventions, tags as well as stickers, and so on – and, on the other hand, a much more specific view about certain contemporary tags produced, roughly, over the past twenty years. The two general claims are, first, that all works of street art are subversive (see, e.g., Bacharach 2015; 2018; Chackal 2016; Baldini 2015; 2016; 2017; 2018; Willard 2016), second, that works of street art are the result of acts of self-expression (Riggle 2016). The specific view about certain contemporary tags is that they are artworks, although they are not presented, mainly, for appreciation of aesthetic properties grounded in their perceptual properties, because they are works of conceptual street art (see Lewisohn 2010; JAK 2012). The key question of the paper concerns, however, not contemporary tags, but “very early tags” (VETs) – a term that I shall use to designate the extremely simple, unadorned tags that first appeared in the late 1960s and that some scholars consider as the historical predecessors of the various practices that today we group under the category “street art” (see, e.g., Young 2014; Gastman et al. 2015): should we regard VETs as artworks? On the one hand, VETs writers tend to answer this question in the negative, since they stress that they didn’t cast themselves as artists and often identify the first tags that are artworks with the graphically elaborated tags that begun to be seen around New York City and Philadelphia just a few years after the appearance of the first tags. On the other hand, already in the early 1970s, artists and intellectuals such as Norman Mailer and Gordon Matta-Clark seemed to hold the view that it was appropriate to regard both VETs and later tags as art, although they didn’t defend this thesis with argument. The view that some contemporary tags that are not presented, mainly, for appreciation of their aesthetic properties might be candidates for appreciation as works of conceptual art suggests a strategy for assessing the issue whether VETs are candidates for art appreciation: can we defend the claim that the extremely simple, unadorned VETs were presented for appreciation as works of conceptual street art? I argue that we have good reasons to hold this view.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
3.CaldarolaPhilInq2021.pdf

non disponibili

Tipologia: Documento in Pre-print
Licenza: Accesso chiuso-personale
Dimensione 206.46 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
206.46 kB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in ARCA sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3761037
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 0
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 0
social impact