Art in the streets is not a local or recent phenomenon. Whether you call it street art, graffiti or vandalism, art in the streets gives a city personality. Large-scale projects, such as JR’s work in Providencia, Rio de Janeiro give underserved places new life and attention. Smaller, every day interventions, like Space Invader add whimsy to the streetscape. Google’s newest Street Art Project, created by their Cultural Institute in Paris is an online gallery currently featuring over 4,000 street art and graffiti images from around the world.
According to the Times article Google’s “database is searchable by artist, city, genre and other categories, and even includes a special section on New York walls of the 1990’s”. Other prominent graffiti mecca’s that can be seen online only now is Banksy’s rats in London, JR’s worldwide Inside Out Project, The Talking Walls of Buenos Aires, NYC’s 5 Pointz, which was white washed by the buildings’s owners in December of 2013, and Paris’s Tour 13 building which was demolished earlier this year. Along with fans donating photos to the database, Google has enlisted the help of over 30 art institutions including the Paris Museum of Street Art and the Museum of The City of New York.
JR’s Inside Out Project (Image via Google Street Art Project)
5 Pointz NYC (Image via Google Street Art Project)
1986 – 1995 NYC Walls (Image via Google Street Art Project)
At this point, artists have expressed no concern over their work being featured on Google, as long as they are credited and their work is not used for commercial purposes. The rise of the Internet and apps like Instagram have made it possible for artists and fans alike to connect with each other globally, making it a community where distance is not an issue. As long as Google holds onto some integrity when it comes to showcasing the work these artists give to the world, the Street Art Project can be a very useful tool to help legitimize great art that is still labeled as vandalism.
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