Recently, Superchief went to check out a panel discussion on Street Art at respected auction house DOYLE NEW YORK. Although Street Art auctions have been held (very successfully) in Europe since the early 2000’s, the Doyle’s inaugural Street Art auction, to be held this upcoming month on October 16th, will be the first of its kind in America. In 2007, Sotheby’s auction house in London auctioned three of popular artist’s Banksy’s works, reaching the highest ever price for a Banksy work at auction: over £102,000 for his Bombing Middle England.
Since that time Street Art has had a huge presence in the contemporary art market. Although auction houses like Sotheby’s will often offer up Street Art works as part of larger pots, it’s surprising that in the birth place of the movement, an auction specific to graffiti and street art has not yet been held. Among panel topics were graffiti’s transition from New York City’s subway trains, to city streets all over Europe, to the walls of galleries and museums, and finally to the bidding block of refined auction houses located in the center of the art world. The auction is featuring the work of many big names in Street Art such as west coast innovators Barry McGee aka Twist, Margret Kilgallen, Shepard Fairey of OBEY fame, classic Bronx graffiti writers Seen and Duster, other east coasters such as Stephen Powers aka ESPO, Futura 2000, the slightly younger Neckface (whose work I remember being particularly prevalent when I was a kid growing up in 90s NYC), and of course the ever famous Brit, Banksy, just to name a few.
Panel moderator and Street Art specialist at the Doyle, Angelo Madrigale, is excited to be giving recognition to a form of expression that has taken the past 30 years to become a legitimate movement in the contemporary art world. Madrigale told art historian, journalist and panel member Hrag Vartainian in a recent interview:
“I think Graffiti and Street Art are the last true American movements. Even though tremendously important artists like Os Gemeos and Blek Le Rat have created great work while hailing from other countries, Graffiti is something that was born in America, just like Jazz and the Blues. The thing is, there was a time when Jazz and Blues musicians would play in Europe because few audiences existed for them in the US. Of course, America finally caught up and understood how important those styles of music are. The same will happen with Graffiti and Street Art. Wildly successful auctions are taking place in London and Paris, and the US will come to realize this art is a part of our heritage and should be celebrated and championed.”
Other panelists included popular artist Buff Monster and David Meade, founder and tour guide of Street Art Walk: a walking tour throughout Brooklyn in which he describes and gives context to the ever-changing landscape through graffiti. Superchief gang got pretty geeked out over graffiti legend COST’s participation in the panel. COST got his name out there in a big (literally very large-scale, like the entire side of a building scale) way during in the 90’s when he and fellow artist REVS would go bombing together. They were largely responsible for the introduction of rollers as opposed to the more conventional spray paint approach to graffiti, as well as using wheat pasting and stickers. In more recent years REVS has gotten some notoriety for his welded works, which unfortunately are frequently stolen by Street Art enthusiasts, but you can hear more about all that in this here video we shot ….