Is the Street Safe for Art?

A few days back I did some posts about some artwork that had been put up recently in our street. Last night while I was walking home I noticed that a number of them had been pull down, bent or broken. I don’t know whether this was done by someone who was unhappy about them being put up or whether they just wanted to destroy something. I felt sad about it because someone had obviously put work into making and installing them, and because I felt they added something to the neighbourhood. Later on I remembered that this is part of the nature of public art, and particularly street art. In Hosier Lane artworks are constantly being painted over. So you know that what you are putting out there is at risk of being vandalised, and that at some stage it will be painted over by someone else’s artwork.

In a sense I guess that is true of all kinds of media, including the most mundane of posts on social media. We don’t know how others will respond to what we put out there, how it will be remixed, rebooted, screenshotted, taken out of context, filled with new meaning or misread. Once we put it out into the public it is no longer under our control.

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