Art appreciation does not have to be narrow. It can encompass many a type of art. And when visiting South Florida, many an art lover will find an ode to the public art of graffiti.
A little history…
Graffiti art, though highly criticized for its apparent illegality, its otherness in the way it is presented, and its classification as vandalism, is still art, many would argue. Is a cave drawing or carving a drawing? It can be said that this primitive art was graffiti like- it was public, and depicted life at that time. Graffiti art today is exactly that- a representation of life as expressed by an artist. It’s continuing stronghold since the tumultuous 60s is one proof of this. Though not readily accepted as art in the same sense as works that hang in galleries or a museums, its controversy makes it art as well. In history, the best art, the most important work was almost always controversial. Graffiti art is as controversial as art can get.
Graffiti art appears boldly and unexpectedly on usually illegal locations and the artists are shrouded by anonymity. Also known as subway art and spray can art, aesthetically, it takes various forms. One simple type is that of as slogans or political statements, another is the tag or the artists nickname rendered in bold colors in large writing. Some would argue there is little aesthetic appeal. This type of graffiti art is more of a statement of presence- territorial almost. Another type of graffiti art are community murals and are usually commissioned. The most controversial type of graffiti art is done with spray paint and has very strong aesthetic qualities which may or may not speak to the viewer however regardless make an impact.
Though the controversy over this art form is alive and well, South Florida shows a rare acceptance and even celebrates it. For example, in what was an abandoned warehouse district, Miami has dedicated a park to showcasing graffiti.
Called the Museum of the Streets, this outdoor gritty street art gallery features approximately 30 murals by amazing artists from all over the globe. Visitors enjoy this rare treat for free as there is no admission fee. The gallery, named Wynwood Walls, is located on NW Second Avenue between 25th and 26th streets in Miami and can be enjoyed from noon to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. It is unique and a great way to take in this unappreciated unique and controversial art form. Because of its popularity, the owner opened up Wynwood Doors next door. This area features almost 200 feet of roll-up storefront gates and these showcase the tags of well-known graffiti artists.
To enjoy other isolated locations marked by the ‘brush’ of many a graffiti artist, check out Miami Graffiti for pictures and information. If you truly want to feel a quiet but rebellious side of South Florida culture, its a must see.